Facebook Looks to Encrypt Messages Between Apps

Robert BuheckerCybersecurity and Vulnerabilities

Facebook Adds Encrypted Messaging

Facebook Looking to Connect Message Apps With End-to-End Encryption

For the users of Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram, your messages may now be completely private. The popular social media site is planning to connect all three of its messaging platforms with end-to-end encrypted data. This would mean that Facebook would not be able to intercept or read any messages that were sent between these apps. Users would also be able to communicate from one app to another without having to switch. However, if you want to avoid Facebook completely, here is a list of the best encrypted messaging apps.

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WhatsApp messages are currently encrypted by default. Facebook messaging does have a “secret conversation” feature that few know about as it is turned off and must be turned on for each individual conversation. The collaborative effort between the three apps would keep all messages private. This merger was an attempt by CEO Mark Zuckerberg to give users a feeling of security after the 2018 hack.

The Biggest Breach in FB History

In September of 2018.Facebook’s networked was attacked and exposed the personal information of 30 million users. Attackers exploited a feature in the site’s code and gained access to people’s accounts. The hackers were able to exploit vulnerable parts of the site. These flaws were tools to improve user privacy and a new way to upload birthday videos. The hackers were able to gain access to user’s names, email addresses, date of birth, and more

Many government leaders have called for better privacy and have threatened that if Facebook couldn’t gain control of their site, they would have to step in. While many other online mediums like Twitter and Google searches circulated news of the breach, posts about it on Facebook itself were taken down because the massive amount was considered “spam.”

Process of Encryption

Encryption is the process of translating plain text data into characters that appear to be meaningless, such as random numbers or mixed up letters. This procedure is known as an encryption algorithm, and essentially uses a process of encoding to scramble the information sent between two parties. This prevents an outside party from intercepting the message.

Concerns About Encrypting Messages

Encrypted messaging apps are considered a convenient way for friends and family to communicate without worry that their information will be intercepted. However, some users might be wary of Facebook and their Messenger app due to recent breaches and a 2014 lawsuit. To sum up the lawsuit, Facebook used private information to tailor ads. Interceptors would search for hyperlinks within messages and use them to track a user’s activity. If it finds a link to a website that is connected to Facebook’s advertisers, interceptors would add a “like” to that advertiser.

Aside from advertisers, there is no way for law enforcement organizations to intercept communication that may be suspicious in real time. With the main goal being a fast, private, and reliable way for people to message each other, this may not improve privacy for all users of the three mediums. WhatsApp users must give their phone number, but very little other information. If all three apps are integrated, the meta-data from WhatsApp may co-mingle with their Facebook accounts. While there is still much discussion to be had on the final integration of the apps, this is set as a priority for 2019.

Social Media Can Be Safe To Use

While social media can pose risks to your privacy, there are ways to remain safe online. Several ways include not oversharing information, avoiding phishing sites, and learning how to recognize malicious links. If you’ve fall victim to a phishing attempt, fraud, or malware due to social media activity, we can help. Contact us for a free phone consultation at 1-800-288-1407.