Matignon asked members of the government and ministerial offices to install the French application Olvid on their phones and computers “as a substitute for other instant messaging services, in order to strengthen the security of exchanges”reported the services of the Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne.
The instruction, formulated in a circular published by the weekly To pointnotes that “top consumer instant messaging apps” (WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal) “occupy an increasing place in our communications”but “are not free from security vulnerabilities”.
Elisabeth Borne therefore recommends the implementation “by December 8, 2023 at the latest” from the Olvid app “as a replacement for any other instant messaging deployed outside the public domain”. “The integration of this solution not only constitutes awareness in terms of cybersecurity, but also a step forward towards greater French sovereignty”She adds.
The only instant messaging certified by Anssi
Created in 2019 by two French cybersecurity experts, Olvid is proud to be “the most secure instant messaging app in the world”. Its innovation: the removal of the centralized user directory, which was supposed to allow maximum security for conversations. Messages are end-to-end encrypted, a practice now common in the industry, but in Olvid, so is their metadata (who talks to whom and when).
Available free of charge for Android, iPhone and computer, the application does not require a phone number to work. For the general public, adding a new contact is done by scanning a QR code. Paid options are available to make audio calls, use multiple devices, or facilitate business use.
Since September 2020, the application has been the only instant messaging application certified by the National Information Systems Security Agency (Anssi). As the data is not stored on the central server, it is not necessary to provide any specific security for so-called sensitive data, the circular specifies.
For security experts, the still limited use of Olvid does not allow it to be proven reliable during scaling.