Signal’s “disappearing messages” live on in macOS notifications

Signal’s “disappearing messages” live on in macOS notifications

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Enlarge / It’s possible you’ll wish to properly ask your folks who use Sign on the Mac desktop to vary their notification settings.

Sign, the privacy-focused voice and textual content messaging utility, provides a sexy little bit of operational safety: ephemeral textual content messages that “self-delete” after a predetermined period of time. There is only one small drawback, nevertheless, with that function on the Mac desktop model of the appliance, as info safety advisor Alec Muffett found: in case you despatched a self-deleting message to somebody utilizing the macOS utility, the message lives on in macOS’s Notifications historical past.

Ars reproduced the issue, which Patrick Wardle of Goal See performed a very deep dive on—revealing that the issue is partly a bug in the best way Sign handles calls to the macOS notification system, and partly is simply how macOS notifications work.

Messages that self delete from Sign nonetheless present up in notifications

Should you’ve turned notifications off for Sign, or restricted the quantity of knowledge that will get pushed to Notifications by way of Sign’s settings, this isn’t an issue; if in case you have not, you will possible wish to change your settings for now till a future model of Sign fixes the problem.

As a result of Sign doesn’t present any steerage to Notifications on how one can deal with the messages as soon as they have been seen, macOS doesn’t robotically delete notifications—even after their time has expired. The truth is, the messages are retrievable from a non-encrypted, user-readable SQLite database in macOS’s hidden /non-public listing, which shops every Mac consumer’s notifications. Whereas the messages are saved in hexadecimal format as a binary property record (plist), the information can simply be transformed again to plain textual content. And voila, your buddy’s self-deleting message is recovered.

Once more, all of this may simply be mitigated by merely altering the notification settings for Sign, or utilizing full-disk encryption to ensure nobody can acquire entry to your exhausting drive to retrieve the SQLite information with out your password. However there’s nothing on the sender’s finish that ensures that can occur—in order all the time, ship your ephemeral messages with care.

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