If you’re an avid Facebook user, you more than likely use their convenient Messenger app as well. If that's the case, you may want to begin thinking of alternatives. Unfortunately, their platform is lacking serious security measures that may cost you in the long run. It has been reported that it’s not an easy fix even after many attempts have been made by Facebook to strengthen their messenger service.
Upon announcing their newest security updates with “App Lock” and stating “privacy is the heart of messenger,” Facebook also claimed the new security features would “add another layer of security to users' messages and prevent outsiders from accessing them.” However, this simply isn’t the full truth. The new “security feature” has merely placed a band-aid on the issue and has not alleviated the actual depth of the problem. One could compare this to adding an extra lock on their front door but not securing their valuable, sensitive information inside their house – still leaving all that information in a vulnerable, accessible position.
So, what’s the persisting issue? Encryption. If you don’t know what this means, it’s simply the process of encoding information by converting the original representation of information into an alternative form known as ciphertext. Only authorized parties can decode and access original information. Facebook has warned its users of their own risk when messages are not end-to-end encrypted. They’ve even admitted that this security measure would mitigate the compromise of their server and networking infrastructure used by Messenger. This news came when they also announced the launch of their ”secret conversations.” By Facebook's definition, these secret conversations are “end-to-end encrypted and intended just for you and the person you’re talking to,” while implying that messages that aren’t deemed as “secret conversations” can be easily accessed by many others. Yikes, Facebook! Not cool.
Although Facebook is renowned for its advocacy of end-to-end encryption methods through its social media platform, the same doesn’t apply for its messenger service. They’ve also stated that kind of security application could take years for Messenger. In other words, ‘your security isn’t as secure as it should be on a messenger service, but please be patient, and we’ll get to it. Oh, and in the meantime, if your sensitive information is compromised – sorry ‘bout that!’
If you’ve been keeping up with recent news, you’d know that Twitter was just publicly shamed for their major lack in security and for the fact that their DMs (direct messages) were not end-to-end encrypted – just like Facebook Messenger. Over 100 users' DMs were hacked, and the private messages of over 36 accounts were compromised. To put this into perspective, Twitter is not used as often as Messenger as a messaging service, so you can only imagine just how substantial a compromise could be for Facebook. Twitter’s messages are only a fraction of those sent via FB Messenger.
This lack of security is understandably causing major headaches for Facebook, but you should be safe if you take action. We can’t tell you what to do, but we can share our formulated opinion, and if it were us, we’d take precautions and avoid using Messenger until all security measures have been implemented. The same goes for any other social media platform, device, or program – use at your own risk, but don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Written by Allie Prange
Allie stepped into her role as PR & Marketing Specialist at TechGuard Security in November 2019 to help oversee, develop and implement marketing initiatives while serving as the day-to-day contact managing timelines, strategy and overall client/partner direction. As a mass communications graduate from SIUE with over 10 years of marketing experience, Allie is conversant in marketing/campaign strategy, brand development, social media marketing, graphic design, cross-promotional tactics, copywriting, public relations, event coordination and more. She has the innate ability to creatively plan, communicate, strategize and execute any project that is handed to her. Allie is a team-player, goal-oriented and strives for success amongst her teammates and colleagues. In her free time, she enjoys managing her graphic design side business, AKP Designs, spending time with her family and traveling as much as she can.