Is Anything We Say Safe Anymore?

Secure Communications from LoughTec

If everyday conversations do not seem to be private anymore, it makes sense that our private ones are not either.

I frequently wonder how often we are being watched or listened to these days. It seems the norm now for everyday things we’ve been discussing with friends and family to appear on our social media platforms. I’m sure we have all seen the Amazon pop up advertising the product we had just discussed or even when we have looked at something on our work machines (during lunch break of course!) for them to appear on our mobile phone feed later that day. It’s a wonderful method of buying and selling, which clearly works very well, however, it’s all very surreal in terms of peoples privacy, as nothing we do stays a secret it seems – and something I think we have become blind to.

The same point applies to the digital conversations that we genuinely want to be kept private. If everyday conversations do not seem to be private anymore, it makes sense that our private ones are not either. To me, that’s a concern and with everything that is going on in the world at the minute, I’ll bet I’m not alone. I am sure we are all guilty of saying things we thought were in a private setting (either in person or digitally) but in fact, were not private at all.

WhatsApp was recently fined a record €225m (£193m) after it was found to have breached EU data protection rules, following an investigation by Ireland's privacy watchdog. They found the company had broken stringent regulations concerning transparency of data shared with other companies also owned by parent firm Facebook.

WhatsApp & Other Messaging Apps

WhatsApp is a great example of this and is actually what inspired me to create this article and only amplifies my suspicions. A couple of weeks ago I read WhatsApp was fined a record €225m (£193m) after it was found to have breached EU data protection rules, following an investigation by Ireland’s privacy watchdog. They found the company had broken stringent regulations concerning transparency of data shared with other companies also owned by parent firm Facebook. Following the ruling, WhatsApp said in a statement it is “committed to providing a secure and private service”, despite breaching data protection rules – read into that what you will. Perhaps it listens/watches what we are talking about and shares it with Facebook, thus why the content we have discussed appears on our social media feed? I do not know.

I also recall hearing a story of how simply answering a call on WhatsApp, made by a threat actor, can result in your entire WhatsApp account and phone being hacked, with them having access to all of your conversation history, private conversations and actual control of your device! Sadly, I suspect I have seen proof this is true.

A few days ago I was sitting enjoying Formula 1 on a Sunday afternoon, watching Max Verstappen and Red Bull Honda show why they are at the pinnacle of motor racing, when I received a strange notification on my phone. It was a video call request from a recruiter! Now I had not spoken to this recruiter in years, nor was I friends with them. I also suspect they know not to video call anyone via WhatsApp on a Sunday, especially in the middle of the Dutch Grand Prix! So it appeared clear to me, that after several repeated attempts to video call me, that they had indeed been hacked/compromised, with a threat actor not only having access to their private conversations, but control of their entire phone!

I also recently had a conversation with a friend, who was telling me about their friend who unfortunately had a child who was feeling under the weather. With the restrictions on visits to the doctors and general move to all things online, they had been instructed to send a description and photographs of their child’s symptoms to the GP over WhatsApp. With the story and examples of how easy WhatsApp and other messaging apps can be hacked, I find this truly very scary.

World of Business

The same situation can of course happen in the world of business. Every day we are having private conversations regarding high-level deals, sensitive content, projects and even disagreements – with the risk that these conversations may not be private at all. Can you remember the last time you had an in-person/digital conversation, that shared details you’d rather be kept private, in the workplace? I expect the answer is every day! A lot of businesses simply cannot afford for their private conversations to be public.

Solution To The Issue

At LoughTec, we have a solution. Working closely with our Belfast based partner, Salt Communications, we work with Law Firms, Wealth Management Firms and Governments across the world to ensure private conversations remain private, with our Secure Communications Platform. Simply put, this is a secure mobile communications system used by organisations that cannot afford to compromise on security. The solution allows users to communicate with the highest confidence, whether through text messages, voice calls, group chats or file transfers – and yes, this solution can be deployed on-premise to ensure complete privacy.

Value Add

The value add here is simple and clear – this solution ensures your private conversations remain private. Whether for communicating internally with colleagues, communicating with clients, incident response, or having secure comms for board members. The solution even offers a free and easy trial, that ironically, is as easy as downloading WhatsApp.

If you wish to reach out and have a conversation on how secure communications can add value to your organisation (or again discuss Electric Vehicle’s) please feel free to DM me, email me on jonathan.adams@loughtec.com or call me on +44 (0) 77 7582 6874.

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