Android security gets major boost via new TextSecure/CyanogenMod deal

TextSecure is set to increase its user base ten-fold after signing a deal that will see the encrypted messaging service shipped with all installations of CyanogenMod.

Whisper Systems, the owner of the project, announced that it will integrate TextSecure into CyanogenMod by default and it means that every time a message is written using the independent Android rewrite it will be automatically encrypted.

“The upshot is that a whole bunch of people are able to get transparent, secure messaging. This might be the largest deployment of end-to-end encrypted messaging to date,” said Marlinspike on the Whisper Systems blog.

It works by giving any message sent using the service an invisibly encrypted key that is only stored on the phone and not able to be accessed by any mobile phone operator. TextSecure uses the phone’s data connection and refuses to reveal the message recipient to carriers thus making it incredibly difficult for anyone to determine the contents of the message or the parties conversing.

CyanogenMod, which raised $7 million [£4.3 million] in funding in September, was started off by Android programmers and allows Android users to use it in order to give them a higher level of control than possible with the regular version of Android. There are already 10 million registered users worldwide and the number is likely to be far higher as downloaders have to opt-in to be included in CyanogenMod’s download numbers.

Eventually the company behind TextSecure hopes to have a service that is reputable enough that Google will choose to implement it for all Android text messaging.

“We want to be able to say, ‘Look at this, it’s super seamless. Why not put this in your phone? Maybe we’ll have the leverage and the history to pressure Google into doing something similar. They’ll have no excuse,” Marlinspike added.