Sunbird is shutting down its iMessage app for Android2023-11-21 16:36 by Daniela
Tags: Sunbird, iMessage, Android
Sunbird, the app that brings iMessage to Android, has temporarily shut down the service over "security concerns," as first reported by 9to5Google. In a notice to users, Sunbird says it has "decided to pause Sunbird usage for now" while it investigates reports that its messages aren't actually end-to-end encrypted.
This comes after the app received increased scrutiny when it partnered with Nothing to act as the basis of the smartphone manufacturer's Nothing Chats app. Nothing's app was only available for less than one day before the aforementioned privacy concerns came to light and it was pulled.
Several sources, including 9To5Google and Texts.blog, have pointed out that messages, pictures, and videos exchanged on Nothing Chats, powered by Sunbird, were not end-to-end encrypted, unlike what the partnering companies had claimed.
Instead, messages were decrypted and transmitted using HTTP to a Firebase server (and error-reporting software, Sentry) in plain text. That information, which includes vCards (used to bundle contact information like phone numbers and email addresses) could easily be accessed, as discovered by Dylan Roussel.
It is unclear what the future holds for the Sunbird service or Nothing Chats, but this serves as a good reminder to be very cautious with any app or service that promises to enable iMessage on Android.
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