The average person spends more than a dozen text messages per day, which climbs higher in younger age brackets. So the average is well over 100 text messages sent and received by people in their teens and twenties – way more than traditional phone calls.
This raises questions of security and privacy for many phone users as the world becomes increasingly digital. For example, are your text messages really as protected as you think, and how can you be sure that you’re texting safely across all platforms?
Here’s where encryption comes into play and why you should be more aware of this technology as texting takes off even more in the future. But, first, let’s find out whether text messages are encrypted or not and how you can improve your texting privacy with just a few steps.
What is Encryption?
In simple terms, encryption is when messages are converted into a scrambled code that must first be decoded before viewing.
The technique has been applied for decades in communications in high-risk situations, with numerous improvements made along the way.
Nowadays, cybersecurity is of paramount importance in our digital world, which explains why so many consumer brands are taking encryption more seriously. From payment data to user profiles, more and more aspects of the eCommerce experience are getting the encryption treatment, which has undoubtedly helped keep cyber crime at bay on a broader scale.
Your Text Messages: Does Encryption Matter?
There’s no doubt that encryption is cool and useful in certain situations. But if you’re not a spy or a criminal mastermind, you might be wondering why it’s relevant to you.
Here’s the thing: even if you’re just casually texting friends, family, or romantic interests, the content of your text messages is sensitive and should be kept as private as possible, no matter who you are.
You don’t need to be a high-level Hollywood celebrity or a Royal Family member to see the value of encryption in daily life since shady criminals are constantly looking for the next vulnerability to take advantage of.
It’s not just your financial or health data that may be compromised when you skip the encryption. These messages also contain info about where you live, your daily schedule, and other tidbits that can put you in a dangerous situation.
That’s why encryption is no longer just for super spies and villains – this is something we all need to take more seriously moving forward with text messages and other forms of communication online.
Know What’s Encrypted (And What’s Not)
First off, realize that traditional SMS messages are not encrypted since they are the oldest and most outdated technology in this category. So, if you’re still in SMS mode and want to level up your security or privacy, we suggest you seek an alternative ASAP.
The good news is that most phones and devices don’t use SMS as the standard protocol for sending and receiving texts. Native apps like iMessage for the Apple ecosystem should be encrypted automatically, although you may want to check your settings to confirm.
If you’re still using SMS on your phone as the standard, consider downloading a standalone app to send messages that may be more sensitive or personal. WhatsApp is a popular solution used worldwide, and even Facebook Messenger has an encryption option, despite the company having a checkered past with privacy.
Also, keep in mind that the companies themselves have access to your messages with these big tech apps, which may be a red flag. Look for specialized encryption apps like Signal to ensure that your messages are 100% private from end to end.
The point is that every company, every device, and situation calls for something different, so you can’t expect an all-encompassing fix for your encryption needs. The process is undoubtedly becoming easier, but you’ll also need to do some research and put in the effort where required.
Thinking Beyond Encryption
We tend to focus on encryption because it’s direct, clearly defined, and effective in specific scenarios. The problem is that encryption is just one piece of the privacy puzzle.