Security Issues Of Messengers
There are plenty of messengers to choose from. Whatsapp is the most popular after Facebook. There is Telegram, Viber, WeChat, LINE, etc. All of which have popularity in their region.
While these messengers play an important role in our lives regarding communication and connection, they are plagued with the same thing â security issues. Below are some common security issues of messengers.
Common Security Issues Of Messengers
True, all messengers use a form of encryption. The newest buzz is end-to-end encryption. It allows messages to pass between the sender and the recipient without a third-party hijack. However, there are loopholes to this encryption.
The end-to-end encryption encrypts the data while it is in transmission, not while it is being processed or after receipt. It is also used for secret messages. Others can be intercepted in between.
Another loophole here is the source code. Messenger like Telegram uses open source codes that are available online for compiling and use. Although the code is always updated, such that the online version is outdated, it doesn't change the fact that a serious hacker might exploit the code's weakness.
Spyware can also override end-to-end encryption. In one sentence, no message is completely encrypted.
iCloud And Google Drive Backup
Fortunate as it might be to have iCloud and Google drive backup, it is one of the security issues of messengers. The encryption only covers messages in transit, not backup. Anyone with your cloud login details can download your messages.
Impersonation And Hacking
The case of stolen identity seems to be the case with Facebook messenger users. When you forget your password, you can retrieve it using the âforget passwordâ option. However, this option is not as secure as should be. Your account can be hijacked if you don't have a recovery email attached to it. Also, anyone with your login in details can access your account and change the settings.
Messengers leave digital breadcrumbs that can be traced. Anyone can find you or stalk you. Take Facebook and Instagram as an instance. You can view a person's profile, and see their post without following them. They wouldn't know you viewed their profile.
Ways To Reduce The Security Iss ues Of Messengers
Two-step or multiple authentications will reduce the risk of a security breach. Most messengers have it, you need to activate it on your account. Take Whatsapp for instance, you will be asked to input your authentication code periodically. Other messenger apps require that you attach a recovery e-mail or phone number. An OTP or verification code is sent to the email or phone number whenever a change is made to the account.
Change Your Privacy Settings
The privacy settings will go a long way in reducing the security risks. With Facebook, you can have a private account. No one can see your post or stalk you. On Instagram, a private account means you have to follow the user to see their post. The privacy settings for Whatsapp are slightly different. You cannot have a private account, but you can turn off your "read receipt." No one sees your last seen and vice versa. You can also control the number of people who can see your status or add you to groups without your permission.
Read The Fine Prints
Regardless of how secure the software owner/developer claims their messenger to be, it is somewhat hypothetical. You need to read the terms and conditions. Make sure the terms are well defined and clearly understood. Take for instance if you have your Whatsapp chat backed up to the cloud, if it gets breached, who will be held responsible? The software owner or the device owner? All of this should be understood.
The function of messengers cannot be overemphasized. Despite their usefulness, there are risks associated with their use. These risks can only be reduced, not eliminated. Software developers need to reassess their apps to identify the loopholes. Only then can the security issues of messengers be fully addressed.