There is no shortage of security threats that you have to worry about in this awesome and terrifying information age we find ourselves in. You need to keep your passwords secure, enable two factor authentication, use a VPN, delete old posts regularly, avoid revealing personal information publicly, be careful about what you download, and maybe even avoid popular social media platforms like Instagram altogether. In all the fuss to make sure everything is as secure as possible, you could be forgetting the most elemental of all vulnerabilities - your private messaging apps.
An approximated 5 billion people worldwide use SMS to send and receive text messages, with around 80% of the population in North America included in that. With so many people relying on what seems like pretty safe technology, is it really safe?
First of all, SMS is not encrypted. Many messaging apps today give the option to have end-to-end encryption, meaning that no intermediary can intercept the message; however, they often come with problems.
Services offered by Apple and Android are subject to their own security concerns. While we have yet to do a deep dive into either of the skeletons hiding in their closets, these entities are far from the most trustworthy guys around.
The first and most popular option that people use for relatively secure text messaging is WhatsApp; however, this trust is misplaced. Earlier in the year, there was a lot of fuss made about their new terms of service, where they started sharing personal information (phone numbers, user data, etc) with their parent company - Facebook.
As mentioned in a previous article, Facebook is known to use and abuse data gathered from its customers. This caused a mass exodus from the app to more secure options. What are those options, though?
Many of the tech savvy WhatsApp refugees opted to use Signal, a free, open source, cross-platform centralized encrypted instant message service. It is used by governments around the world, including the United States, and is regarded as the best platform for secure communication by multiple independent institutions.
If you want to keep yourself away from any prying eyes, then download Signal today from either the App Store or the Play Store. No other service comes close in terms of safety.