Messaging Apps: Is There Any Risk to Your Security?
Updated on July 13, 2021: From now on, traffic filtering, malware protection, and suspicious DNS activity blocking are available as a part of the separate DNS Firewall app.
We chat with our friends and family every day. It became as much of a habit as having a breakfast in the morning. According to Statista, communication & social app categories have 97.6% mobile market reach among online users in the US (you can find more information here). And as ComScore puts it in their report, 96% of total digital time spent with smartphones and tablets is accounted for messaging apps. As a result, we take our security in messengers for granted and don’t think about any risks while clicking on links sent by, say, our best friends.
But think about it. Since we spend so much time with instant messengers, that’s where cybercriminals obviously want to be. How successful are they in doing so? Every popular messaging app states to be protecting our private data. The owners of the services assure they apply end-to-end measures. But is it really a guarantee of our security? Let’s figure out together.
The truth about popular instant messaging apps
If we look through the number of monthly active users in various instant messengers, we can get the next list of top popular apps: WhatsApp (1500 millions), Facebook Messenger (1300 millions), WeChat (1000 millions), Skype (300 millions), Viber (260 millions), Snapchat (255 millions), and Telegram (200 millions). So, have any of these business giants been spotted in their users’ data leakage?
- WhatsApp. A few years ago the most popular messaging app was abused to spread a malware, called Banking Trojan. Cybercriminals would ask users to approve a number of new friend requests. In order to do it, user had to click a link. As a result, through this link the malware would be downloaded which’d steal all of the device’s online banking info. Malicious emails seem to be the main weakness of WhatsApp, cause it wasn’t an isolated incident.
- Facebook Messenger. You’ve most likely heard about the recent scandal with Facebook and how its 87 million users got involved in a data leakage. The private information fell to the nads of Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm. How did it happen is still a matter of debates. The data included like News Feed, timeline, messages, personal profile, etc.
- KakaoTalk. It is the most popular app in South Korea, with 93% of residents uses it. A few years ago, when KakaoTalk was at the peak of its fame, numerous fake versions of it appeared in stores. Users who downloaded it by mistake got a malicious app to their smartphones. Just like KakaoTalk, other instant messengers are also known to be targeted by fake apps.
How to protect your privacy online?
Well, as you can see, even the world’s giants can’t always withstand cybercriminal assault. That’s why having an additional defense line becomes essential. For this, we suggest a secure virtual private network, like VPN Unlimited. In a nutshell, it is your personal layer of security, which creates an encrypted tunnel connection between your device and a secure server. As a result, it doesn’t matter what kind of link you click or what app you download. No cybercriminal will be able to decode any of your personal data even if some of it fails to their hands.