Messages via text are a common way we communicate now with friends, family, work colleagues, and other people. Easy to use, fast, and convenient. Concerning privacy and security, SMS text messages have some vulnerabilities.
Be careful with screenshots
Even though your messages are encrypted, be careful about giving someone access to them through screenshots. Someone could potentially take a screenshot of your messages and share them with others. Avoid sending anything too private or sensitive if the recipient could screenshot it. You also enable features like screenshot notifications so at least you’re aware if someone takes a screenshot of your chat.
Authenticate with two factors
how to protect text file with password? Text messages can be protected with two-factor authentication to prevent unauthorized access. When enabled, accessing your messages will require entering a passcode or authentication code from a separate device. This way, someone would need access to both your phone and the separate authentication device just to get into your messages. Most messaging apps and mobile carrier accounts support two-factor authentication.
Use a private messaging app like privnote
You want to send sensitive information like passwords or account numbers that you don’t want accessible for long. Private messaging apps like PrivNote allow you to create encrypted messages that only be read once and then disappear from the app’s servers. After viewing the private note once, it is automatically and permanently deleted after the recipient clicks the link. Time-sensitive information can be shared without leaving a digital trail.
Limit message previews and notifications
Most messaging apps will preview your messages on your phone’s lock screen or in your notifications. While convenient, this could allow others around you unauthorized access to your messages. Go into your settings and disable message previews and pop-up notifications from appearing. You also enable privacy modes in apps like WhatsApp that prevent others from seeing messages and caller details when your phone is locked.
Secure physical access to your device
No matter what app or settings you use, make sure to secure physical access to your device. Use device passwords, fingerprint IDs, or face recognition to prevent others from accessing your phone. Never leave your phone unlocked or allow others to use your device unattended. Ensure your messaging apps require authentication each time so your messages aren’t accessible to anyone with physical device access. While you likely don’t want to leave a permanent record of all your text conversations, it is a good idea to occasionally back up your messages in case your phone is damaged, lost, hacked, or otherwise compromised. Most messaging apps allow you to create encrypted local or cloud-based backups. Just make sure to store any backups securely.
Delete messages you don’t need
Your messaging apps likely hold onto old conversations and messages indefinitely unless you actively delete them. Get into the habit of regularly clearing out old threads and messages you no longer need. It reduces the risk of someone accessing your phone and reading through months or years’ worth of outdated messages. Most apps allow you to delete full conversations or specific messages. You also enable disappearing messages to have them automatically deleted. Beware of suspicious texts from unknown numbers asking you to click strange links or provide personal information. These texts are likely phishing attempts or scams trying to steal your data. Never click links, download attachments, or reply with sensitive info to sketchy texts. Be extra cautious texting with someone you don’t know well or haven’t met in person.