Tech

Protecting your private message files- A comprehensive guide?

They are personal and professional communications online – sending private messages and sharing sensitive information. What does this connectivity bring? Great convenience, it also poses risks if the wrong people gain access to our private conversations and data.  Fortunately, there are steps you can take to keep your private message files secure. We’ll cover choosing secure apps, enabling encryption, protecting locally stored files, and best practices for sending private messages safely.

Protecting locally stored files

Your messaging apps only provide transmission encryption when sending data between devices. If you store exported chat logs, media files, or other private data on your device, that data at rest remains vulnerable. Here are some tips to keep local files secure:

  1. Enable device encryption – On iOS, turn on the device passcode and enable settings > password > data protection. On Android, enable lock screen passwords and encryption in settings.
  2. Use trusted vault apps – Tools like NordLocker, Boxcryptor, and EncryptMe can create encrypted virtual vaults to store private files securely.
  3. Store data on encrypted drives – Portable encrypted USB drives provide secure universal storage and can also be sent to trusted recipients.
  4. Leverage cloud encryption – Services like pCloud Crypto and MEGA provide client-side encrypted cloud storage for remote backup.
  5. Use file encryption tools – VeraCrypt (for Windows) and Knox (for macOS) allow you to selectively encrypt files and folders.

Following the principle of least privilege, only store sensitive data locally if necessary. Delete texts and media promptly after use.

Sending private messages safely

Even when using secure apps, exercise caution when sending private messages:

  • Avoid sending over public Wi-Fi – Public hotspots are easy targets for eavesdroppers to intercept data. how to private message? Only send private messages over trusted networks. Consider using a VPN for added security.
  • Verify recipients carefully – Double-check check you are messaging the correct contact before hitting send, especially for sensitive data. Confirm any new or unverified contacts to avoid impersonators.
  • Enable disappearing messages – Signal, WhatsApp, and other secure apps allow enabling disappearing messages that self-destruct after a set time. This reduces the risk of a recipient’s device being compromised in the future.

Protecting text files stored on your computer

Beyond messaging, you may have other text documents containing private data on your computer that warrant protection – such as encryption keys, bitcoin wallets, passwords, legal documents, confidential business data, and more. Here are tips to lock down your local text files:

  1. Use password protection – Word processing programs like Microsoft Word allow you to password-protect documents. This prevents unauthorized users from opening the file and accessing its contents.
  2. Leverage permissions – On Windows and macOS, you can tightly restrict file permissions via file properties to limit which user accounts can access, edit, or delete sensitive files.
  3. Encrypt documents – Microsoft Office documents can be encrypted with a password to transform the contents into unreadable ciphertext. Special software is then required to decrypt and open the document.

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