Ask yourself this, when was the last time that you checked your text messages? Probably it was just a few minutes ago.
Whether it’s our loved ones or colleagues, technology has allowed us to remain constantly in contact with one another.
This has been wonderful in helping us forge closer connections, but all of this unfortunately comes at a price and we have all asked ourselves ‘are text messages secure’?. In the digital age, information has become a commodity that can be traded and exchanged.
Over the years, technological advancements have lulled us into a false sense of security. Before the introduction of smart devices and instant messaging, the idea of sharing pictures and locations with one another seemed ludicrous.
Nowadays, some of us don’t think even twice about sending sensitive information or private pictures with those around us.
This begs the question, are text messages actually secure?
Can we trust our service providers to protect our privacy? What measures are being taken to prevent this information from being stolen and misused by malicious third parties?
In this article, we ask the question; what text messaging threats are and how can we better protect ourselves.
What are the text messaging threats?
A 2016 study revealed that over 6 billion text messages were sent daily in the U.S alone. From random chats to sensitive financial information, text messages are an often-overlooked security risk.
Text messaging threats refers to the danger of sensitive information in text messages falling into the hands of hackers and other malicious parties. Given the various security breaches over the years, it would be folly to overestimate the security provided by text messages.
Having a stranger gain access to your personal conversations is bad enough on its own. How about your credit card information and banking details?
Lapses in security could very well result in a thief stealing your credit card information to conduct unauthorized purchases or making use of your personal details to blackmail you.
In 2019, it was reported that a massive data breach occurred which resulted in hundreds of millions of text messages being leaked online. This is an extremely worrisome trend which is why data encryption is now more important than ever.
Are text messages encrypted?
Now that you’ve recognized the gravity of the situation, the question on your mind should be; are text messages secure and can anyone read your text messages?
Imagine your partner’s intimate pictures being leaked online for millions to leer at. What about highly confidential information such as details of your company’s next big deal? The consequences of such a disaster are too fearful to think about.
Even worse is the fact that text messages are not encrypted. What this means is that your mobile carrier and the government will have no trouble reading the text messages that you send.
Ever wonder how some random telemarketer or scammer got your number? Here’s one of the main reasons why.
While generally reliable, text messages can be easily intercepted by hackers which makes sending sensitive information by SMS a risky option. On their own, text messages reveal metadata such as telephone numbers which make it possible for the identity of recipients and senders to be detected.
At best, this can expose you to the risk of identity theft and at worst, you’ll be bombarded with scammers and telemarketers.
How secure are text messages?
Generally speaking, text messages are not a safe method of communicating. While you may not be sending or receiving confidential information, you’ll only be exposing you and your loved ones to the risk of cybercrime.
The lack of encryption and basic security measures means that your texts can easily be intercepted. This does not mean that text messages are an awful means of communication – far from it.
Instead, when sending messages by text, practice good security hygiene and keep the important stuff for when you meet in person.
Are text messages more secure than email?
Email or electronic mail works by transmitting messages over the internet from a sender to the recipient. Having been around since the 1960s, email is one of the most popular means of communication.
However in recent times given a series of high-profile data leaks some of which have had severe consequences, the security of emails have been called into question. With hackers being as sophisticated as they are, it can be nearly impossible to identify the suspect or what data has been stolen for that matter.
When compared to text messages, emails offer a variety of options that enhance security. For example, Gmail supports a variety of third-party plugins that allow a sender to encrypt their emails. Additionally, Microsoft Outlook comes with encryption support for emails that enable better security.
Are Android text messages encrypted?
With over 80% of smartphones running Android operating systems, it goes without saying that Android is the world’s most-used phone OS.
By default, messages sent from an Android phone are not encrypted. However, given Android’s extensive app support, there are plenty of third-party applications that allow text messages to be encrypted.
So, if you ever wondered are android text messages encrypted, then the answer is a resounding yes. However, care should be exercised when choosing a message encryption app – with data being such a precious commodity, you would not want to run the risk of accidentally installing the wrong app.
Are iPhone text messages encrypted?
Apple devices have long been renowned for their quality and design. So it should come as no surprise that Apple places a premium on security. Text messages sent from Apple’s iMessage are securely encrypted which makes them extremely difficult to intercept.
How to send texts securely?
Sending messages via SMS can only get you so far. Recognizing the need for safe, secure communication, the industry has provided users with a myriad of choices to choose from.
Instead of relying on your service provider or carrier to secure your text messages you can choose Tezro App.
How to increase your security and privacy using secure messaging?
Despite sophisticated security protocols and encryption technology, cybercriminals will always find a way. The normalization of risk and complacency will only lead to security breaches. As a rule of thumb, always practice good data hygiene when sending messages.
Avoid using public wi-fi networks and only rely on a trusted source. Don’t text in public or when you’re using public transport – you’ll never know who’s watching.