Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

Sunbird, which goals to convey iMessage to Android customers, has halted growth and pulled its app from the Play Retailer amid safety points raised this week.

Earlier this week, the corporate despatched a notification to its customers, as famous by 9to5Google first, saying that it’s pausing the event of the app to research safety considerations.

“We’ve briefly shut down the Sunbird app whereas we do an in depth safety evaluation. We’ll revert again to the group as quickly as we’re conscious of the precise occurrences and our plan to mitigate them going ahead,” the corporate mentioned on its Discord on November 19.

A number of customers on the Sunbird subreddit famous that they’d obtained a notification from the corporate in regards to the app’s shutdown.

Picture Credit: Imgur/Reddit (opens in a brand new window)

“We’ve been working across the clock on the app to handle the considerations that have been raised and enhance the expertise. Navigating the press and our associate obligations stored us from sending a message sooner. Heaps occurring nonetheless and we’re dedicated to Sunbird’s success,” the corporate mentioned on its Discord on Tuesday in an replace.

Sunbird messaging was based in 2021 and has obtained a complete of $2.9 million in funding in accordance with Crunchbase information. The corporate launched its app in a closed program final December.

The app got here into the limelight when Nothing — an organization began by OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei — introduced earlier this month that it’s utilizing Sunbird’s know-how to convey iMessage to Android via Nothing Chats.

Nonetheless, after the announcement, a number of researchers identified safety flaws inside the app together with messages being despatched in plain textual content, as identified in a weblog publish from Texts.com.

Different safety researchers together with researcher Dylan Roussel additionally identified that every one messages and media despatched via Nothing Chats and Sunbird are public.

Thread time!

Abstract:
– Sunbird has entry to each message despatched and obtained via the app in your machine.

– The entire paperwork (photos, movies, audios, pdfs, vCards…) despatched via Nothing Chat AND Sunbird are public.

– Nothing Chats is just not end-to-end encrypted.

— Dylan Roussel (@evowizz) November 18, 2023

nothing chats app (skinned sunbird) is an absolute privateness nightmare that sends/shops ALL information unencrypted on firebase

and for no matter motive it additionally sends ALL messages and attachments to sentry (once more, in plain textual content) pic.twitter.com/CxBS7TZwCl

— wukko (@uwukko) November 18, 2023

In response to those claims, Nothing pulled the Nothing Chats beta from the Play Retailer and mentioned it might work with Sunbird to “repair a number of bugs.”

We have eliminated the Nothing Chats beta from the Play Retailer and will probably be delaying the launch till additional discover to work with Sunbird to repair a number of bugs.

We apologise for the delay and can do proper by our customers.

— Nothing (@nothing) November 18, 2023

Given the blue bubble/inexperienced bubble divide, many message aggregator apps have tried to resolve this downside. The aforementioned Texts.com, which was acquired by WordPress.com proprietor Automattic final month for $50 million presents iMessage on Mac and SMS with iMessage. Pebble founder Eric Migicovsky’s Beeper additionally presents iMessage integration in some capability. Nonetheless, there have been questions in regards to the privateness and safety influence of those options.

All these developments come amid information from Apple final week, saying that the corporate will undertake RCS (Wealthy Communication Requirements) — a superpowered different to SMS that permits sending multimedia messages with different options — subsequent 12 months. Whereas this may not resolve the inexperienced and blue bubble divide, customers on Android would have the ability to ship high-res images and movies to their family and friends utilizing iPhones.

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