You’ve heard of Signal, but what about LockDown?

Last week, following a viral tweet from Elon Musk, Signal became the #1 downloaded free app in both the Apple App and Google Play stores.

Here at LockDown, we’re often asked how we differ from Signal, so we wrote this article to provide a high level overview of the technical and functional differences between the apps.


What are Signal and LockDown?

In simple terms, Signal is designed for private text messaging and voice/video calls – functioning as a secure combination of Zoom and messaging.

LockDown is also designed for private, encrypted communication, but adds file sharing/storage, and control of content – functioning as a secure combination of Slack and Box.


How are Signal and LockDown similar?

Signal and LockDown go to great lengths to provide users with powerful privacy and security. Both tools strive to be zero-knowledge, meaning that only you and your intended recipients can view your information. Neither LockDown, nor Signal, can see or access your content because they don’t hold your private encryption keys. Lastly, both products use end-to-end encryption to protect all content.


How do Signal and LockDown differ?

While Signal and LockDown share similar goals for security and privacy, there is one key difference:


ON Lockdown, you always have control of your messages and files, even after you share them with others.


With Signal, you lose control of your files after you share them. File recipient(s) can copy, print, export and share what you send with anyone (without your knowledge).

With LockDown, you maintain control of your files after you share them. You decide if they can be copied, printed, exported or taken off of the app, and can adjust these permissions at any time (so you can always change your mind). You can also destroy a message or file after it has been sent, rendering it completely inaccessible to the recipient.

Control is especially important in corporate environments because it protects against data leakage and gives business leaders the freedom to share information and take it back, securely.

While both platforms continue to develop their respective products, this table provides an overview of how their features compare today.


Signal’s technology securely delivers messages and files, and stores them on the device where they were delivered. As a result, if someone joins an existing conversation, they can’t see the messages or documents that were shared prior to their joining. Instead, they can only see new messages going forward. The drawback is if someone is removed from the group chat, they continue to have access to the content that was shared during the period in which they were in the group, even after they have left. For this reason, Signal might not always satisfy the needs of certain groups, particularly businesses.

LockDown uses different technology. Our privacy engine is designed to offer future secrecy without storing content on-device. This means, when you are added to a group, you can see what was shared before you joined. But if you leave or are removed from the group, not only can you no longer access any content, it’s as if you never participated in the conversation in the first place.


File Control – Photos and Documents

Signal provides secure transport of files. However, once a file is received by the recipient, they can do anything with it. This includes saving the file directly to their phone or computer, forwarding it to others, printing, copying content, and more. In other words, when a file is shared on Signal, the sender loses control.

In contrast, LockDown empowers the sender to control files after they share. By default, files shared on LockDown can’t be exported, printed, or copied. For additional security, every file is watermarked with the recipient’s username and phone number to deter against creative capture. Custom watermarks can also be added.

Depending on the device, LockDown provides either notifications of screenshots or blocks them all together. Lastly, each file shared on LockDown has an audit log. This log provides users with a list of activity on their files so they can see who has accessed their information, and when.

Additionally, LockDown provides a secure storage area where you can safely keep your private files and photos. This area offers the benefits of cloud-based file storage in a completely private and secure ecosystem.


Both are great for consumers; LockDown is also great for business

Signal and LockDown both offer free consumer apps that are available for smartphones and computers.

Unlike Signal, LockDown offers an enterprise version that provides a robust feature set specifically designed to cater to business needs, including:

  • Hierarchal access and control, allowing oversight and control of communications and files
  • Prevention against data exfiltration
  • Businesses whose employees use their own devices (BYOD)

With LockDown, businesses can quickly, easily and effectively remove access to any and/or all company information, leaving no residual data on the device(s).


The Bottom Line

If you value private communication, LockDown and Signal are both powerful options.

When used in combination, Signal and LockDown cover nearly every private communication and collaboration need – whether you want to talk, video call, store, message or share files.

Stay safe and stay private.


A.J. Auld is the CEO of LockDown, an all-in-one platform to safely store, share and communicate with complete privacy. Prior to LockDown, A.J. founded several successful companies including Distributed Alpha, a cryptocurrency investment firm; Bright Discounts, a fundraising company; and Titanium Lacrosse, a sports management company, which was acquired in 2015. A.J was a Columbus Business First “Forty under 40” awardee and earned a degree in Finance and Entrepreneurship from Miami University.

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