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Concerned About Privacy and Security? Here’s 6 Things To Look For In A Messaging App

Concerned About Privacy and Security? Here’s 6 Things To Look For In A Messaging App

by Low Boon ShenAugust 25, 2023
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Concerned About Privacy and Security? Here’s 6 Things To Look For In A Messaging App

These days we rely on messaging apps on just about everything – talking to friends, collaborating in work, discussing study topics, keeping in contact with families and much more. With that comes a huge responsibility for apps to make sure your data doesn’t go anywhere outside of your intended recipient – which is what happens when a data breach occurs, exposing user’s information or even sensitive data.

We at takes privacy seriously – in the time when online scams is more prevalent than ever, especially in Malaysia, how do one protect themselves from scams striking their savings? Here’s six things that users should take a look at.


End-to-End Encryption Chats & Calls

These days, End-to-End Encryption (E2EE) is a must-have for anyone with privacy and security considerations. How does it work? As you sent your message to the recipient, the message itself gets encrypted by a ‘cryptographic lock’ – think of it like a luggage lock that secures your belongings as you arrive in the airport. This lock is only available to you and the intended recipient – in the event of the data getting intercepted by hackers, they wouldn’t be able to read the data as it is literally jumbled into a bunch of random characters that only you and your recipient’s device can read normally as texts, media or calls.

Same applies to the app developers themselves – the cryptographic keys are never shared outside of you and your recipient, so even they couldn’t read anything from it.

Encrypted Chat Backups

Here’s something that most people might not know: did you know that your chat could be exposed as you backup the chat history from some apps? Here’s where Encrypted Chat Backups comes in. Like how E2EE works – as you backup your chat, the data is encrypted using the key that is either provided to you, or you can set one yourself. This option is available for some apps, and it can come in handy especially when you backup your chat to the cloud (which is another hotspot that hackers like to breach).

Two-Factor Authentication

Another common feature these days, Two-Factor Authentication or often shortened as 2FA, is extremely useful against account thefts. It works by making sure the person logging in the account is the intended person – often the second factor is an unique code sent to your email or SMS. However, newer 2FA methods has started utilizing code generators (usually from your phone app) for increased security. The same principle applies to account recovery in case you forgot your passwords, or you are setting the account into a new device.

More Control Over What You Send

Dropped a message on wrong chats? Aside from few moments of awkwardness, you can reverse it very straightforwardly. Most apps has included the ‘unsend’ feature where you can retract whatever you may have mistakenly sent to the chats – and certain apps has even more robust features such as ‘disappearing messages’ and ‘view once’ for the privacy-minded users, which destroys the message after a certain period or even after single viewing, 007-style (without explosions, of course).

Enhanced Privacy Controls

Much like phones that recently getting new privacy features, messaging apps have privacy controls of their own as well. They let you control who can see your status, activities and more. Some allow users to prevent others from knowing if they have seen the message, or your last online time. Others allow you to control who can add you to group chats and view your user info, and more.

Managing these options are equally important to the security measures already in place – with many scams originating from social engineering attacks (i.e. phishing scams), it is crucial to know what kind of data you allow others to see and how easily accessible your data can be from the public.

Ability to Report and Block

Finally, if the scammers are stepping right at your bank account’s front door, this is your most straightforward option. Pretty much all messaging apps have this feature in different forms – but the basic principle is there, making sure users won’t hear the offending account from scamming attempts or even potential harassments ever again. Blocking them is half of the story though, there is the option of reporting the account if you think the sender has violated the rules (often referred by ‘Terms of Service’ by apps) such as sending explicit content or scams, and more.

For instance, WhatsApp – where messages are end-to-end encrypted by default – only when you chose to report the sender then the app will flag it and reveals the last five messages for further review, and takes actions accordingly depending on the offence, such as account ban.

About The Author
Low Boon Shen
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