Apple Targets Secure Messaging, Hires Developer Behind Snowden’s Favorite Secure Chat App Called Signal

Former NSA contractor turned whistle blower Edward Snowden is a fan of Signal, a secure messaging app developed by Frederic Jacobs (iOS version). Snowden revealed on Twitter last November that he uses signal every day, which is a pretty strong endorsement considering his current situation. That's good news for Apple because Jacobs is joining the Cupertino outfit later this summer.

"I'm delighted to announce that I accepted an offer to be working with the CoreOS security team at Apple this summer," Jacobs posted to Twitter on Thursday. His move to Apple comes two and half years spent working for Whisper Systems, the company that owns Signal. This is a big hire for Apple, to say the least.


It's not known what exactly Jacobs will work on at Apple. It could be Apple's messaging service or beefing up the security of iOS in general, or something else. Whatever it is, Apple's gaining a talented engineer that knows the ins and outs of security, a point of focus for Apple. especially now that the FBI is trying to force its hand to crack its own safeguards.

This is pure speculation, but one area Jacobs could be useful is in helping Apple create a secure platform that it couldn't break, even when ordered to do so. At this point in time, Apple has the capability to help the FBI crack the iPhone that was used by one of the San Bernardino shooters, but is reluctant to do so because Apple fears it would compromise the security of hundreds of millions of iPhones.

As for messaging, Jacobs said in an interview with Technologist last year that "Apple's service is not perfect. For example, it's proprietary technology makes it impossible for the community to detect vulnerabilities and fix flaws." He also voiced a desire to bring "strong cryptography techniques to iPhone users."