Following the news that Facebook may be developing its Messenger app to encrypt messages and allow people to set a time limit after which their messages will be deleted, David Emm, Principal Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab provides as insight on this news.

David Emm, Principal Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab:

David Emm” The news that Facebook may be developing its Messenger app to encrypt messages and allow people to set a time limit after which their messages will be deleted may be an appealing function for many, but there are dangerous consequences that need to be considered. It could encourage people to share sensitive information with each other with the false sense of security that the messages can not be retained or published further after that time period has elapsed. Yet this still does not stop somebody who receives a message from taking a screenshot and then sharing it online.

With the rise in consumers accessing new types of technology, such as dating and messaging apps, comes the need for them to exercise their own vigilance to help protect themselves, as unfortunately not all sites implement good security. We would recommend educating younger people on the risks which accompany sharing information online. A good rule of thumb is that if you wouldn’t publish something on the front page of a newspaper, don’t post it online or trust it to an app.

The danger of oversharing information can be explained quite simply: private text that was once personal might lose its privacy altogether. Today’s communication channels enable quick sharing, but defy any control of the data as soon as it’s been shared.

A victim may not necessarily know immediately that their private information has been shared online. The text might resurface weeks, months or even years after it was written and sent. Once sensitive text finds its way to the Internet, the consequences might be serious. For example, the compromised content might be used for blackmailing, regardless of the age of the person whose data it is.

With that in mind, the best advice is not share sensitive text with others at all. No content, no problem.”

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