Jeff Bezos’s phone was hacked by Saudi Arabia last week, thanks to a video containing malicious code. While the situation was pretty specific—Jeff Bezos was targeted because assets through an attack that likely cost millions of dollars –the attack still brings up the evergreen important privacy question. To what extent do free, encrypted communication tools protect your privacy? We dug through our archive for some answers.

 

Cybersecurity Live - Boston

End-to-End Encryption Does Not Equal Privacy

After the most recent Bezos hack, Facebook Vice President of Global Affairs and Communications said the blame fell with Apple, not WhatsApp because WhatsApp has end-to-end encryption, which is un-hackable. But just because WhatsApp has end-to-end encryption doesn’t make mean the tool is un-hackable. End-to-end encryption is like a bodyguard who picks you up in the car and rides with you to your destination. You’re protected while you’re travelling but once you’ve reached your destination, it could be an entirely different story. End-to-end encryption doesn’t protect from messages being leaked as a result of screenshots or forwarding. In fact, Jeff Bezos had another WhatsApp leak last year thanks to screenshots.

 

If the Tool is Free, then You Are the Product

Companies that make and distribute free consumer tools need a way to make money and that usually means harvesting your data and metadata is being harvested—from your name to your email to your birthday. Those companies dictate the terms of service to you and they’re often pretty opaque about what information is being taken from you—even if the tool claims to be secure.

 

Your Device is the Weakest Link

Hackers know that your messages are most vulnerable when they’re on your phone, which is why hackers are increasingly trying to compromise devices. Fully protecting communications means taking steps to secure devices and using tools for communication that protect your messages from forwarding, screenshots, or being backed up to an insecure location.

 

Vaporstream goes beyond encryption and makes sure that your messages are protected not just in-transit but on your device. Messages can’t be forwarded or screenshotted and don’t remain on your device—instead they’re archived to a repository that you chose. See what we look like in action here.