It seems that the sun has set for Sunbird—the app that enabled Android users to access Apple’s iMessage functionality on Android devices. Accused of serious privacy and security flaws, the app’s developers have chosen to temporarily withdraw the app.
As 9to5Google reported, Sunbird sent a message notification to its users saying that the team has “decided to pause Sunbird usage for now” as it investigates “security concerns.” This comes after the app was accused of falsely claiming that messages sent on the platform were end-to-end encrypted.
Moreover, it also follows Sunbird’s collaboration with Nothing to launch Nothing Chats—which promised to allow Nothing Phone 2 owners to use iMessage on Android. However, after criticism arose regarding the backend status of Sunbird, the brains behind the app—Nothing Chats—was removed from the Google Play Store after being up for just one day.
At that time, Nothing stated on X (formerly Twitter) that it was removing the app to “work with Sunbird to fix several bugs.” But now, it appears that these are not merely bugs that Sunbird is contending with.
Kishan Bagaria, founder of Texts.com, claimed that Sunbird wasn’t using HTTPS; instead, it was sending credentials over plaintext HTTP. He also disclosed that the application’s backend was running on an instance of BlueBubbles, which evidently lacks support for end-to-end encryption.
Sunbird promptly responded, stating, “The HTTP is only used as part of the one-off initial request from the app notifying the back-end of the upcoming iMessage connection iteration that will follow via a standalone communication channel.”And that the application, from the start, has been focused on security.
However, now that the developers have taken down the application, it seems Bagaria’s claims could have been true after all, and the app needs to address its security lapses before it’s ready for mainstream use.
Meanwhile, it remains to be seen how Nothing reacts to this situation, considering they were quite optimistic about this implementation, and how their reputation is also on the line. Plus, now that Apple has promised to support RCS in 2024, the collaboration may prove to be even more redundant.
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