Nothing Chats app was a new messaging app that claimed to bring iMessage-like features to Android users. It was launched by Nothing, a tech company founded by former OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei, in partnership with Sunbird, a messaging hub service. The app was exclusive to Nothing Phone (2), a flagship Android smartphone by Nothing.
However, just three days after its release, the app was removed from the Play Store due to security concerns. In this article, we will explore what Nothing Chats app was, how it worked, why it was removed, and what are the privacy and security risks of using it.
What is Nothing Chats app?
The Nothing Chats app is a free app that allows users to send iMessages from an Android phone. It also supports RCS (Rich Communication Services) and SMS chats. The app is powered by Sunbird. The app was designed to address the challenges of texting between Android and iPhone users. However, some critics have raised concerns about potential security risks.
The app is available exclusively on Nothing Phone (2). To set it up, users need to link Google Messages. The app is currently in beta and has been removed from the Google Play Store due to some bugs and privacy concerns. The app is only available for Phone 2 users in the US, Canada, UK, and EU.
How does Nothing Chats app work?
The Nothing Chats app works by attempting to integrate Apple iMessage functionality into the Android-based Nothing Phone (2), allowing users to access iMessage alongside their existing RCS and SMS chats.
To make this integration possible, the app requires users to undergo a setup process:
- Linking Google Messages: Users must link their Google Messages app by scanning a QR code provided by Nothing Chats. This step enables the app to integrate existing RCS and SMS chats into its interface.
- Apple ID Sign-In: In order to access iMessage features within the app, users need to sign in with their Apple ID. This authentication process is managed by Sunbird, which operates the backend infrastructure. Sunbird facilitates the Apple ID sign-in by connecting to a remote server farm where the Apple ID data is used to authenticate and gain access to iMessage services.
- Encryption and Data Handling: Nothing claims that the process is encrypted end-to-end, and they assure users that after the initial sign-in, the Apple ID data is supposedly destroyed. They tokenize the data for security purposes, ensuring sensitive information isn’t exposed to potential threats.
However, concerns arose regarding the security measures implemented by Nothing Chats and Sunbird. Reports highlighted issues such as the initial transmission of Apple ID credentials over HTTP instead of HTTPS, raising doubts about the app’s security practices.
Nothing Chats app removed from Play Store
Nothing Chats app was removed from the Play Store because of massive security flaws that were discovered shortly after its launch. The app, which claimed to bring iMessage support to Android, was found to send Apple ID credentials over plaintext HTTP, exposing them to potential hackers. Moreover, the app did not use end-to-end encryption for messages and media, leaving them vulnerable to interception and manipulation. Nothing and Sunbird, the companies behind the app, have not yet addressed these issues or announced when they will fix them. Therefore, the app is currently unavailable and not recommended for use.
Privacy and Security risks of Nothing Chats
Nothing Chats app posed several privacy and security risks to users who installed it. Some of the risks are:
- The app required users to share their Apple ID credentials with Sunbird, which could compromise their Apple accounts and services. Sunbird claimed that it did not store or access users’ credentials or messages, but there was no way to verify that claim. Users also had no control over how Sunbird used or protected their data.
- The app used Sunbird’s Mac minis as intermediaries for sending and receiving iMessages, which could introduce delays, errors, or data loss. The app also relied on Sunbird’s servers to function, which could go offline or be hacked at any time. Users also had no guarantee that their messages were end-to-end encrypted or secure from interception or tampering.
- The app deceived users by pretending to be an official iMessage app and by using Apple’s trademarks without permission. The app also violated Apple’s terms of service and could result in users’ Apple accounts being suspended or terminated. The app also created confusion and mistrust among iOS and Android users by showing fake blue bubbles and iMessage features.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why was Nothing Chats app removed from Play Store?
Nothing Chats app was removed from the Play Store shortly after its release due to security concerns. The app was found to violate Google’s policies on impersonation, deceptive behavior, and data collection.
How to protect yourself from Nothing Chats app?
Users who have installed the app should uninstall it immediately and change their Apple ID password. Users should also avoid downloading or using any other app that claims to bring iMessage-like features to Android devices, as they are likely to be scams or malware.
Nothing Chats app was a new messaging app that claimed to bring iMessage-like features to Android users. It was launched by Nothing, a tech company founded by former OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei, in partnership with Sunbird, a messaging hub service. The app was exclusive to Nothing Phone (2), a flagship Android smartphone by Nothing. However, just three days after its release, the app was removed from the Play Store due to security concerns.
The app was found to violate Google’s policies on impersonation, deceptive behavior, and data collection. The app also posed several privacy and security risks to users who installed it, such as compromising their Apple accounts and services, exposing their personal data and messages to hackers and malicious actors, and deceiving them by pretending to be an official iMessage app and by using Apple’s trademarks without permission.
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