It’s revolutionised the way we stay in touch and an entire generation might never know the basic, black and white SMS’s that many of us grew up with. We are more connected than ever before, and one of the quickest, and easiest ways to always stay in touch is by using WhatsApp.
A lot of us have chosen WhatsApp as the preferred way to send quick messages to each other. Unlike SMS messages, WhatsApp messages are transmitted using an installed app and mobile phone data. WhatsApp is owned by Facebook and there are about 1 billion users who send messages via the app every day. And it is because it is owned by Facebook that there have been a few security concerns, in light of the recent scandal surrounding the social media company.
So it is fair to ask, “Just how private are the messages you send?”
As with all our blogs, we don’t aim to scare, we aim to raise awareness so that you can always stay safe, regardless of whether it is in the real world or in the virtual world.
How secure is WhatsApp?
Over the years that WhatsApp has been available, the updates have been consistent and the privacy and security of the app have been improved numerous times. WhatsApp has end to end encryption and this can be very confusing for those who don’t know what it means for an app to be encrypted.
Encrypted messages are converted into a code which cannot be accessed by any unauthorised person or programme. This is what makes messages safe to send to one another, without the worry of having someone hack you and gather the data you have sent. If you use the latest version of WhatsApp, you instantly enjoy the benefits of encrypted data.
Not even WhatsApp is able to access your messages. Regardless of what you share, the only person who can read the message using the app is the person you have sent it to. It is a big deal that WhatsApp uses end-to-end encryption. This means that the company has decided to take your security so seriously, that not even they can access your data. Once a message is sent, it is encrypted and only the recipient’s app can unlock and view the message. All of this is done without you seeing any of the hard work.
But WhatsApp is only as secure and as private as you make it
While encryption is a powerful way to prevent third parties from accessing your messages, there is absolutely nothing stopping the recipient of your message from showing or forwarding your message to someone else. Depending on who you are sending messages to, it can be very important to keep in mind that with each message you send, you are leaving a “paper trail” of sorts. The recipient could take screenshots of your conversation and share it just about anywhere.
So be smart about the types of messages you send and always make sure that if you are sending sensitive messages, that you are sending them to a person you can trust!