Instant Messaging

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Not all instant messaging platforms use encryption. Who is reading your data?

 

Instant messaging has replaced text messages. Especially with the capabilities of video calling and voice calling. However, there are still many risks and these can be dangerous places for vulnerable people like children, if the correct security features have not been put in place, along with the correct education of what to look out for.

Risks

 

  • People can create fake accounts, so you can never be sure of who you are talking to
  • Malicious links can be sent via instant message, causing harm to the recipient and the device they are using
  • Not all instant messaging platforms have encrypted messages, therefore, you have no clue who is really able to see what you thought was a confidential message
  • Instant messaging platforms are still vulnerable to viruses and cyber attacks

Chat rooms

Chat rooms are groups with instant messaging, used by large online communities. These are made up of anonymous strangers posting unfiltered and unmoderated content.

 

Risks

  • Cyberstalking and threatening behaviour
  • Inappropriate content towards vulnerable people and children. As well as violent, sexual, extremist, racist and offensive content in general
  • People have been tricked into providing confidential data which later leads to harm

 

Stay Safe

    • Be careful about who you decide to talk to and if things become uncomfortable, log out
    • If you find someone is posting offensive, criminal or inappropriate content, you can report them via the chatroom and block them
    • Never include personal information in your profile
    • Never meet the users in real life. If you must, inform people of exactly where you are meeting them and when. Preferably take someone with you as well as a mobile phone and meet in a public place

Take Action

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Things to watch out for

  • Messages from people you don’t know
  • Suspicious looking links especially from unknown contacts
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Protect yourself and your business

  • Never reveal any confidential business or personal information over instant messaging apps
  • Block people who you find necessary and make your account private on the platforms you can
  • Never click on a link unless you are 100% sure it will be safe
  • Enter minimal data on your profile to ensure you don’t put yourself at risk of identity theft
  • Use strong passwords and don’t use the same password for multiple accounts
  • Some instant messaging platforms are not encrypted meaning you should never send information that is personal and confidential over these platforms
  • Disable automatic downloads
  • Check security settings and advice
  • Keep your apps up to date
  • Supervise children when they are using instant messaging platforms

Report it!

  • If your account is hacked, warn your friends and family not to click on any links that may have come from your account and change any passwords
  • Disconnect any other apps you have connected with the social media account that has become compromised
  • Phone us straight away on 0800 680 00 88 and report it to Action Fraud