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Could your texts be leaked?

Could your texts be leaked?

Even Jeff Bezos suffered from text leaks, but you can avoid it with end-to-end encryption.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos may be a poster child for the American dream — he bravely and successfully forged a new shopping paradigm when we stepped into the brave new digital world as a society — but a recent incident proves he types his texts one letter at a time just like the rest of us. In short, his texts were leaked.

Last week, Bezos and his wife Mackenzie announced on Twitter that they were getting an amicable divorce. Not long after that tweet, the National Enquirer published secret love texts between Bezos and his alleged mistress, Lauren Sanchez. How did it happen? Bezos was probably not using texting apps that feature end-to-end encryption.  And the same thing could happen to anyone. There have been previous leaks often targeting the famous — Hollywood stars, musicians, and politicians.

At a time when our digital world can hold the keys to our success or failure, tight security around anything and everything we send out to the internet, or even through the internet, is essential.

What is end-to-end encryption?

When a text message service uses end-to-end encryption, the information sent is encrypted from the moment the user taps SEND to the moment the other party receives it on their device. The more standard alternative to this is encryption in transit, a protocol the older messaging apps use. Encryption in transit keeps the information encrypted between the device and the service provider. If the service provider is hacked, the info can be easily accessed.

End-to-end encryption guarantees the data stays encrypted until it reaches its destination. There are some great messaging services that feature this tighter security, and we’ll list them for you here. Take a look and give one a try. We’re guessing that, like everyone, you don’t necessarily want hackers peeping in on your private messages. Switch your service to one of these to protect your privacy.

Signal — This one’s a favorite amongst the cybersecurity community for several reasons. First of all, it’s very easy-to-use. Second, it’s open-source, which means if any bad elements were placed in its code, the transgression will be flagged and fixed immediately. Third, the company showed its integrity in a 2016 case when it was subpoenaed to provide all sorts of digital info on one of its customers, and it couldn’t fulfill the request. The only data the company retains is the date of account creation and date of the last time the user connected to the Signal server. The rest was private and uncollected. The app is free and works with both Android and iOS.

Cyphr Another solid free option, Cyphr offers end-to-end encryption and works with both Android and iOS as well. The app stores a minimal amount of your metadata on its servers, but that is only for the duration of the message’s transit. Once the message has been received, the servers erase the metadata.

There are plenty of others:

Check them out and choose one that fits your specific needs and lifestyle. Keep in mind that certain messaging services are parts of larger organizations, such as Whatsapp being owned by Facebook. While Whatsapp uses end-to-end encryption, we can’t ignore that it is attached to an enterprise that has been riddled with serious data breaches over the past couple of years. Do your homework before you settle on one.

When you find an end-to-end encryption messenger that jibes with you, start using it, and enjoy the sense of peace that comes when your mind feels as safe and secure as your texts.

Author: Jas Dhaliwal, 17 January 2019