Continued NSA spying revelations have put privacy concerns at an all-time high and while there are methods that the average Joe can take to encrypt their correspondence, it’s often times technically complicated to do so. Additionally, if the person on the receiving end isn’t running a similar setup, it pretty much defeats the purpose.
CyanogenMod, the community built distribution of Android 4.1.x, recently announced plans to roll out encrypted text messaging by default. The build already has a number of security options built in but even some of the more tech-savvy users were neglecting to configure them.
The team worked with Open Whisper Systems to integrate the new security, we’re told. Moxie Marlinspike, co-founder of Open Whisper Systems, said they want everyone to have access to advanced secure communication methods that are as easy and reliable to use as making a phone call or sending a normal text message. The collaboration with Cyanogen brings them closer to their goal of completely frictionless secure communication, he said.
It’s a significant development when you consider Cyanogen has at least 10 million known users (users also have the option of not being counted so the true user base is unknown). That said, there could be upwards of 30 million Cyanogen users or more.
The best part about the encryption is that users don’t have to do anything special on their end to take advantage of it. As Marlinspike notes, it will just happen automatically. It will be rolled out first in version 10.2 before being added to earlier versions at a later date.