Shoot the Messenger: How Chat Apps Are Security Hellholes

There are dozens of texting options available. Here are several options with different capabilities. Unfortunately, many of the apps (or their parent companies) can be used for terrible evil.
Stever Robbins
6-minute read
Episode #528
image of chat apps like whatsapp and facebook messenger

9. Confide

Confide assumes someone can physically look over your shoulder. Messages are displayed blotted out. Hold your finger over the display to see the decrypted text. 

In 2016, researchers found that Confide’s security could be compromised with the right sort of attack. Confide promised to address the problem, but I’ve been unable to find a source for whether or not they have.

For protecting against over-the-shoulder spies, it’s the only choice. Whether or not it’s secure enough to protect you from cyberspying isn’t as clear.

10. Kik

Kik is a chat app oriented around group messaging. It does it all: group chat, messages, pictures, etc. Forty percent of U.S. teenagers use it. Anyone can register with an anonymous profile.

According to an article in August 2017 METRO, KIK messages are stored unencrypted on the servers. You may be anonymous, but your anonymous messages can all be read by KIK.

They have a whole web page devoted to telling parents and teens about law enforcement and emergency procedures. They don’t actually mention abduction and murder, but we’re smart enough to read between the lines.

(Whoa. Stop the presses. When I wrote that last line, I thought I was joking. Only...upon further investigation, I wasn’t. Kik was implicated in the 2016 murder of a 13-year old girl.)

The newspaper articles on Kik all seem to stress that its anonymity has allowed it to be widely used for child exploitation and by pedophiles to groom young children.

So there’s that…

11. WeChat

WeChat is the gigantic Chinese chat app used by a gazillion people. It’s a Chinese chat app, used by the Chinese government to track every citizen and wipe out non-conformity. I’d imagine the Chinese government can read, profile, and track everything that happens on the app. ’Nuff said.

What Messenger App Should You Use?

I hope I’ve terrified you by now. If you want lots of snarky detail with more in-depth revelations of evil, check out http://getitdoneguy.com/chat

Only one company seems to have the right mission and the privacy and security chops to pull it off: Signal from Open Whisper Systems. 

Grab Signal today. And if you must chat, chat safely.

I’m Stever Robbins. Follow GetItDoneGuy on Twitter and Facebook. If you’re self-employed or a small businessperson, Get-it-Done groups help you stay focused on what’s important, and develop the habits you need for consistent, successful progress. Learn more at https://SteverRobbins.com.


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT. 

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