An online privacy company said that a database housing millions of private text messages were exposed online for an extended period. TrueDialog, a Texas-based text messaging service, was the company responsible for the leak, according to cybersecurity experts.
What Has Been Exposed
Researchers at the vpnMentor, the company that reported the leak, said they could access the messages because the Texas-based company left the logs completely unsecured and unencrypted. The leaked text messages exposed TrueDialog users’ private information such as passwords and usernames from Google and Facebook.
Researchers offered to help close the leak of the text message, but TrueDialog never responded to their suggestion.
“We contacted the company. We made our findings known and offered our expertise to help them close the data leak and ensure that no one was exposed to the risk,” said vpnMentor. “The database has been closed since then, but we were never answered by TrueDialog.”
TechCrunch also examined at the leak and confirmed that applications for university funding, telephone numbers, work notices, and other private information were also leaked.
What the Text Message Leak Could Mean to Users
Even though the leak has since been closed, the researchers still warned that “millions of Americans are at risk.” Experts continued to remind the public of the importance of encrypting their text messages in line with the event.
“For hundreds of millions of users, the effects of this data breach will have a lasting impression. The information available can be marketed to both advertisers and spammers,” said vpnMentor.
How to Encrypt Messages
It is important to encrypt your messages if you don’t want others to snoop in your conversations. Although there is no foolproof way of keeping hackers and fraudsters at bay, by encrypting your SMS, you can at least make their job difficult. Here are a few steps to secure your iPhone and Android phone messages:
For iPhone Users
If you’re an iPhone user and you’re messaging to another iPhone, iPad, or iMac user, if you’re using the iMessage app, you’re almost safe. If you see the blue bubble instead of the green one in your contacts, you will know that your messages are encrypted.
Read more: Top 5 iOS 13 Privacy and Security Features
For Both iPhone and Android Users
You can download the Signal app from both iPhone and Android phone users. However, encryption will only work if the application is used by the other user. Signal has other security features that you can use, including restricting others to take your conversation screenshots, making messages disappear after 5 seconds, and disabling keyboards from learning what you type.
Another option is to use the WhatsApp app to make it your default messaging app. Like iMessage and Signal, to enable messages encryption, the other user must use the app. WhatsApp also has a web interface, so you can easily encrypt messages from your computer.