Messaging apps are on the rise. WhatsApp, Line, Snapchat, Hangouts, Facebook Messenger and more, these apps have given people a free way to chat with their friends or family using just the Internet. However, during the RightsCon Southeast Asia Forum in Manila last 2015, global internet stakeholders revealed that while people relied on them for multiple functions, chat apps have threatened their privacy and security. To make sure that your messages are kept private and secured, here are some tips for you to bear in mind.
Add the right person
Most of these messaging apps randomly recommend friends for you. The problem is that most of the names recommended to you are not familiar ones. Most of the time it turns out to be a different person with the same name. There are times when these people act as friends but they are not. When using these chat apps, it is best to add a person face-to-face to ensure that you are adding the right user.
Don’t assume privacy
With these messaging apps, there is no assurance that all the conversations are secret or private even if it says so. These apps have a screen capture function so do not always assume that there is privacy.
Be careful with chat groups.
The problem with chat apps is that they create a false sense of security. Privacy is best ensured when there are just a few members in the group. However, if there are more than 10 people already and most of them you do not really know, that’s where the problem lies. The members of the chat group will keep on adding more people which means there will be more members you do not trust. The new members of the chat group can easily look into the previous threads to read earlier conversations. It would be best if you would just create a new public group and delete the previous private group.
Restrict access to profile picture
Chances are you are using your profile photo in your social media channels such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter. With a public profile picture, people can easily download it using Google Image search. Make sure to set your profile picture sharing to ”contacts only.”
Beware of scams
Most messaging apps will never contact you or send emails unless you asked for their help and support. Watch out for any offers for free subscription claiming to be from the app or encouraging you to follow links to safeguard your account. These are spam messages that should not be trusted.