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How Secure are Your Text Messages Really?

Are your text messages safe, or are they vulnerable to third parties? The answer isn’t simple — keep reading to find out more.

ook at the 10 most recent text messages you have sent and received. How would you feel if they were broadcasted to the entire world? You would likely feel threatened if you had this information exposed. Unfortunately, you might already be at risk. Here are a few reasons why your SMS text messaging is vulnerable to hacking.

First of all, texts are not encrypted. This means that your text message is sent as is to the recipient. To elucidate, say you send a text message to a friend: “Hey, how’s it going?” This message is sent through the network exactly as shown. However, if it were encrypted, it could read something like “rjhnc sjsdg rl dsdd#.”

Read More: What Information Does Facebook Collect About Its Users?

While SMS lacks this encryption, WhatsApp has recently implemented an end-to-end encryption policy that makes texting much safer. Even if law enforcement interrogates WhatsApp about a certain message, they won’t be able to assist because they have no access to the decryption code.

This end-to-end encryption is proliferating in popularity throughout social media networks. Apple’s FaceTime and iMessage have recently added end-to-end encryption. A third party app called Signal has also added this protection by default to their app.

While regular text messaging isn’t encrypted at all, there are some messengers that only offer “in-transit” encryption, leaving them vulnerable to third party hacking. Skype, Yahoo messenger, Snapchat, Kik, Skype, and Facebook Messenger are just a few of the apps that offer this protection. While in-transit encryption is safer than SMS texting, it is not as secure as end-to-end encryption.

In order to assure maximum safety for messaging, ensure that you and your texting partner are both using the same end-to-end encrypted messaging service such as WhatsApp. This will allow both sent and received texts to have maximum encrypted security.

Despite the advanced coding on end-to-end encryption, hackers can still pick up bits and pieces of your messages in some cases. For instance, just by monitoring the data of the encryption, some hackers can tell if someone is cheating on their spouse, selling illicit substances, or is a member of an organization.