Messaging With End-To-End Encryption

Just like computers, there are security vulnerabilities in smartphones and even messengers. We all remember using AOL Instant Messenger and MSN Messenger back in the day, but messengers have evolved over the years. We now have Skype, Facebook, iMessage, WhatsApp, and many others too many to list at this point. Just like a hacker can spy on you using free Wi-Fi they can also grab your messages.

Not all messages are at risk of being spied on by hackers. Messengers like iMessage and Signal use end-to-end encryption meaning only you and the person receiving the message can read it no one else can sense it’s encrypted from beginning to end. Facebook has started using secure messaging on Facebook Messenger as well as WhatsApp. But Facebook has admitted to being able to not read the message but the metadata and the geolocation and other small pieces of data to me that’s not end-to-end encryption.

Services like Skype and Google Hangouts do not support end-to-end encryption meaning Microsoft and Google can read your messages or pictures. Any message that goes over  WIFI or the cellular can be spied on if not using end-to-end encryption. That goes for SMS text messages as well which are never encrypted.

Snapchat like Facebook has enabled end-to-end encryption with a catch. End-To-End encryption is used for photographs exchanged between Snapchat users but text messages and other messages transmitted using Snapchat are not encrypted. Meaning Snapchat can see the data.

Telegram offers encrypted. It secures everything, including chats, groups, media, and so on. But it’s not on by default to use Telegram’s end-to-end encryption, you must start a secret chat by tapping the person’s name, the more or menu button, and Start Secret Chat. Secret chats appear separately from non-secret chats

If you want to keep your data private from someone, I suggest using iMessage or Signal for everything.

Mac And PC Hard Drive Encryption

The one thing you could do to protect your computer in the case of theft is drive encryption. Many people say to me if they steal my laptop who cares its password protected but I always ask if the hard drive is encrypted. Just because it has a password does not mean a skilled hacker cannot hook your device to a computer and get the data this is where drive encryption comes into play.

Let me explain what exactly disk encryption is first. Drive encryption is a technology that protects information by converting it into an unreadable code that cannot be deciphered easily by unauthorized people. Drive encryption uses encryption software or hardware to encrypt every bit of data that goes on a disk or disk volume. It is used to prevent unauthorized access to data storage.

Now I know this seems very overwhelming but it’s not. Both Windows and Mac have disk encryption as built-in options in this modern era of computing. If you are using a Chromebook, you are lucky you don’t have to do anything the disk is always encrypted. Only the signed-in user can access their profile data. there is no administrator account that can access everything. So, your data on the Chromebook is always the safest.

Microsoft Windows has its own version of encryption called BitLocker.

To Enable Bitlocker just go to Control Panel – All Control Panel Items – BitLocker Drive Encryption. Just click Turn on BitLocker.

Follow the onscreen instructions they are easy.

On a Mac, it’s easy as well and with the integration of Apple iCloud its easier than ever to turn on the Apple version of drive encryption called FileVault.

Just click on System Preferences – Security and Privacy – Click on the FileVault Tab – Click Turn On File Vault

You will then be asked for your iCloud account info and that’s about it

Personally, I like to use a third-party tool called Symantec PGP Full Disk Encryption as it’s a third-party tool and the inventor of PGP Encryption Phil Zimmermann works for Symantec. Zimmermann is the creator of Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), the most widely used encryption protocol in the world. Symantec PGP Full Disk Encryption will be overkill for most, but you do get much more options than you do with Microsoft or Apple. But for just the average user the built options in Windows and Mac are more than secure enough.  Anyone dealing with sensitive data should use drive encryption.

Any questions about drive encryption contact us.