Free Messaging Apps? You Pay With Your Data!

The old saying ‘There is nothing like a free lunch’ has never been truer when it comes to cyber security, and messaging apps.  Why would you pay for business messaging – like Secure Mobile – if there are so many free apps out there that already do messaging? The answer is: “Because your business can’t afford losing one of your most valuable assets: voice and data information.”

Messaging In Modern Business Communication

Several recent studies have shown that 80 percent of employees are using messaging to conduct some part of their business today. This is not a replacement for traditional communication platforms like email, but a quicker and easier way to communicate with their peers.

What Is The Problem With Free Messaging Apps?

Company information is being transmitted internally and externally with no record of what was said or what commitments may have been made. This type of uncertainty is uncomfortable for any business owner or executive when it’s pointed out to them. With email, you at least have a record of the conversation, the recipient’s name, and when it was received. There are even more dangerous aspects with unapproved business messaging. SMS, for instance, is not end-to-end encrypted so the expectation of security or privacy is misguided. This puts your business communications at risk.

WhatsApp And Facebook Messenger

It all starts off innocently enough, people use these free, social media messaging apps for organising their personal lives.  Then it slips into use with people from work, and the temptation is to use the same apps for business as you do in other aspects of your life because it is so easy.

Before you know it, meetings are being arranged and sensitive data being shared on an app owned by a multi-national social media company that could very well be sharing (or selling) your metadata, for profit.

But Isn’t WhatsApp Encrypted?

Yes, but WhatsApp is susceptible to the SS7 hack. Hackers can take on a victim’s WhatsApp identity and send and receive messages to other users. Of course, a hacker with access to the SS7 system can also transparently control normal voice and SMS services to and from a mobile, intercepting calls, reading SMS messages, and tracking the phone’s location. For those that are likely to be targeted due to the work that they do (government, military/defence, handling commercially sensitive information like intellectual property, company secrets, financial transactions, sales deals, etc.), this is a relatively easy hack, and one that you wouldn’t know about until it was too late.

Even when a service claims that it has no access to your encrypted data, it still has access to ‘metadata’, such as the date and time of calls and messages, the mobile phone numbers of the recipients or senders of each call or message, and (depending on the application), other information such as your location, native contact lists and the like – all of which a security- minded user might prefer not to have collected by a large social media company.

Makes you think again about how you arrange meetings with an important client, maybe for contract negotiations.  Some of our clients have been victims to industrial espionage and lost contracts worth hundreds and thousands (and more!), and now only use secure methods, such as Secure Mobile for communicating sensitive client information.

You Get What You Pay For!

With any free app you don’t really know who has access to your information.  And you certainly don’t know who will have access to it in the future – as organisations are acquired and personal data is becoming a more and more lucrative asset to be traded. If you want your sensitive corporate conversations to remain private, you should take positive steps to ensure that they stay that way. That means using security applications that you control, so that you know exactly where your data is being held and who has access to it.

You’re already paying for business messaging in ways you might not recognize. It is time to bring it out of the shadows and into the light to speed up and improve your business communications and get the results your company truly deserves.

Contact us today and try it out for yourself!

December 11, 2018