Staying Safe with Online Messaging

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Last updated on April 17th, 2023 at 12:56 am

Read Time:2 Minute, 33 Second

It is safe to say that the primary method of communication for most adults nowadays is online messaging. Throughout the years that this technology has continued to develop, threats to personal data and other cybersecurity dangers have presented themselves, so it is important to counter these with protective measures.

Never Send Personal Information

Even in conversations with those you trust, it is important to refrain from sending any personal data that could be accessed if a security breach were to occur. Attackers can steal this data for malicious use.

Information that should not be shared with others online includes:

  • Social Security Numbers
  • Logins and Passwords
  • Addresses
  • Medical Information
  • Bank Information
  • Family History
  • Education

Choose to communicate these in person where necessary for safety and security.

Use Secure Applications

Avoid sending messages using online messaging platforms that do not protect your data.

Personal data is most protected when there is End-to-End Encryption, Post Quantum Encryption, Secure Endpoints, and No Backdoors. This prevents attackers from accessing the information sent through online messaging.

When this is not implemented, personal data remains at risk of being accessed if a cyberattack occurs. Therefore, it is important to search for a trusted platform that offers all of these features, such as

Defense Software

It is helpful to have anti-virus software and firewalls on all digital devices to defend against cybersecurity threats and protect personal data transferred during online messaging. Anti-virus software regularly scans websites and files to detect any vulnerabilities or threats, offering services to isolate and eradicate any ransomware or malware that could access personal data. Firewalls further defend against cybersecurity threats by adding another layer of security that attackers must get through to access personal data, strengthening the privacy of data.

Maintain Strong Passwords

The easiest way for attackers to access personal data is to decode a weak password. Follow these guidelines to optimize the security of personal data and information transferred during online messaging:

  • At least 12 characters – the more characters, the stronger the password. Avoid shortening it for convenience and note it down somewhere safe instead.
  • A mixture of both uppercase and lowercase letters, including capitalized letters, adds strength to a password and is even better when not in a predictable pattern.
  • Varying the characters – using a mixture of letters, numbers, and special characters can make it harder for attackers to decode the password.
  • Avoid common words or phrases – making a password that can not be found in the dictionary is crucial to staying secure.
  • No personal information – passwords are weakened by birthdays, names, dates, addresses, and locations.
  • Enable multi-factor authentication – where possible, using an authentication app or receiving a code via text or email can add another layer of protection alongside a strong password.

Reset each password on a regular basis to maintain the strength of security and avoid saving it onto websites that are not secure or entering it on a device that is accessed by others.

Counter cybersecurity threats to online messaging by never sending personal information, using secure applications only, utilizing defense software, and maintaining a strong password.

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