Protecting text messages – Balancing convenience and security

Protecting text messages – Balancing convenience and security

Text messages are used every day to communicate between us. You can text friends, family, colleagues, and businesses to send quick messages. It is also important to consider text message privacy and security. Text messaging can still pose privacy risks even though it is a wonderful way to communicate.

Convenience of text messaging

Texting is useful for both personal and professional reasons. The ability to send fast, short messages makes coordination easy. You let someone know you’re running late, answer a question quickly, or send important information on the go. Texting is great when you need to share details but don’t necessarily need a full phone conversation.

  • Immediacy – Texts sent and received instantly. There’s no wait time for calls to be answered.
  • Convenience – Texts sent from anywhere at any time. You don’t need to coordinate schedules for both parties to be available.
  • Discreet communication – Texting allows for quiet, private conversations in public places where phone calls would be disruptive.
  • Informal tone – The brevity of texts lends itself to more casual conversations between friends, family, and colleagues.
  • Low effort – It takes little effort to type out a quick text compared to a phone call. Texting is easy multitasking.
  • Asynchronous communication – Unlike phone calls, texts don’t need back-and-forth conversation in real-time. You respond when it’s convenient.
  • Accessibility – Almost everyone with a cell phone has texting capabilities making it a very accessible way to communicate.

what is private message? While texting provides many productivity advantages, there are also privacy and security risks to consider. Unlike phone calls which disappear after the conversation ends, text messages are stored on phones and servers even after sending. It creates the potential for text messages to be seen, accessed, or shared by others if your phone falls into the wrong hands. Moreover, there is always the possibility that a hacker could intercept texts through weaknesses in a cell provider’s security system. Some potential risks of unsecured text messages include:

  • Viewing of private/sensitive info if the phone is lost or stolen
  • Sharing of private messages if forwarded to others
  • Interception by hackers during transmission
  • Authorized or unauthorized access by cell phone carriers
  • Discovery in litigation if texts are subpoenaed
  • Violations of compliance rules in regulated industries

While many text messages are innocent conversations, others contain private details, compromising photos, financial information, corporate secrets, or messages lovers want to keep secret. This sensitive content requires better protection.

Taking steps to secure text messages

There are several steps individuals and businesses take to keep text messages more confidential and secure:

Use encrypted messaging apps

Platforms like ProvNote, Signal, WhatsApp, and Telegram offer end-to-end encryption to protect messages in transit and at rest. Encrypted apps provide more security than standard SMS messaging. However, all parties must use the same encrypted app to remain protected.

Enable text message encryption settings

Some smartphones have built-in options to enable encryption for standard SMS/MMS messaging between phones on the same cell provider. It prevents third parties from accessing texts while stored by the carrier.

Password protects your phone 

Having a strong passcode, fingerprint, or face recognition set up prevents unauthorized access if your phone is lost or stolen. It protects all content on your device including text message inboxes.

Limit sensitive content

Carefully consider the type of details transmitted via text. Share sensitive content in person or through more secure platforms. Avoid texting anything that would be problematic if seen by others.