Nothing has pulled the Nothing Chats beta from the Google Play store, saying it is “delaying the launch until further notice” while it fixes “several bugs.” The app promised to let Nothing Phone 2 users text with iMessage, but it required allowing Sunbird, who provides the platform, log into users’ iCloud accounts on its own Mac Mini servers, which… isn’t great?
The removal came after users widely shared a blog from Texts.com showing that messages sent with Sunbird’s system aren’t actually end-to-end encrypted — and that it’s not hard to compromise it. The app launched in beta yesterday after being announced earlier this week.
9to5Google pointed to a thread from site author Dylan Roussel, who found that part of Sunbird’s solution involves decrypting and transmitting messages using HTTP to a Firebase cloud-syncing server and storing them there in unencrypted plain text. Roussel posted that the company itself has access to messages because it logs them as errors using Sentry, a debugging service.
Sunbird claimed yesterday that HTTP is “only used as part of the one-off initial request from the app notifying back-end of the upcoming iMessage connection.”
That was in response to someone pointing to Texts.com’s blog examining the vulnerability. Texts.com wrote that “an attacker subscribed to the Firebase realtime database will always be able to access the messages before or at the moment they are read by the user.” The blog also points out that the company could look at messages in its Sentry dashboard, directly contradicting the claim from Nothing’s FAQ that nobody at Sunbird can access messages that are sent or received.
We’ve reached out to Nothing for further comment, but the company did not respond by press time.
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