By Teddy Murphy | March 20th, 2017
Encryption and Cyber Security are words that are thrown into almost every movie that includes computers. Sometimes overly used and out of place, “hacking” can become a theme in movies like Oceans 11, 12 and even 13. Hollywood seems to think we either don’t know or don’t care enough about computers to ask any questions. At times like that your personal cyber security isn’t something to worry about, but when it comes to how you communicate, day to day, cyber security is something to think about.
Again, I’m a college student. My experiences are drawn from what I see currently. Up until last summer I had not even heard of the mobile app GroupMe, which I now use everyday (Sorry about the data bill dad). GroupMe, a Microsoft produced app available for iPhone and Android, is a popular messaging program among college kids. In considering this blog post, I’ve discovered why I’m no longer relying on the common messaging apps that come with my phone. What college students love about GroupMe are three things:
It allows people with both Android and iOS devices to be in group messages with each other, eliminating that cross-platform discrimination that comes from more common apps. At a school of 26,000 you have people with all different kinds of phones, some expensive and some are inexpensive.
It’s safer for everyone involved.
It is free!
Protection against the comments of others finding their way into my group chats is important. I can control what I say, but I can’t control what others say when they are part of this chat. And if others were to say something contentious, this is a way for me to protect myself and others in a group. Remember, I’m talking about college students and they can and will say stupid things. This can also be important for corporations, associations, and other groups that have a wide mix of personalities but must manage private communication.
Privacy, or the assumption of privacy is regular text messaging’s fatal flaw. Most text messages are very observable by the government and cell phone companies can access it very easily… or so we are told. There seems to be no gray zone, no third party’s discretion if they want your records they will get it. Encrypted apps provide greater privacy and purport to include a gray zone through their discretion. How well their defense would hold up against the government will need to be tested further.
I have mentioned in other blogs how as technology and social media tools advance, things like web monitoring and Social Media Monitoring are going to become more difficult. I think we can add private/encrypted messaging apps to the list that may be moving previously accessible opinions into the Dark Web, where measurement will be nearly impossible.
This has been another post by Teddy Murphy. I’m keeping my eye on what’s next.