Online spam is horrendous. Have you ever thought about how spammers access your information?
Is your inbox filled with messages that link to roblox gift cards or the next big BAYC-like NFT project? These links usually lead to a spam or phishing website. But wait, how do they even know your phone number / user ID or that you play roblox in the first place?
Let’s explore how your personal information is being compromised, what’s at stake, and how you can protect yourself from online spams and scams by using a private messaging app.
Social Applications & Spams
In the present day, we use a number of social messaging applications. Most are centralized and ask for your personal information. We use messengers not just for communication but to stay connected, in real time, with our friends, family, and peers.
Centralized messengers today have expanded beyond the boundaries of a messaging application and have integrated features that let you connect to your bank account on the pretext of easy money transfers.
So now they know how much you own and what you spend on. The repercussions of sharing your personal information and bank account details with such messengers are not immediately visible.
The information that you share on these platforms are stored on centralized servers. It is not so easy to access user details for these servers, but it is not impossible for someone with authority and the necessary clearance.
Moreover, centralized servers are also susceptible to a central point of attack. If the platform you’re using follows outdated or unsecure security practices, hackers can easily gain access to your information stored with them.
You are easily discoverable by everyone on the messaging app that you currently use. While sometimes that’s the point of a messaging app, to be able to connect with one another, at other times, it can be a bit scary and even intimidating to get a call or a text from a random stranger.
All that one would need to identify you is your username, email address, or your phone number. However, this is not possible on a privacy messenger. BChat is one of the best privacy messaging apps that protects your privacy and doesn’t collect your personal information.
The Consequences of Using Centralized Chat Applications:
We hear about a lot of scams on instant messengers. Malicious users impersonate others to appear legitimate and gain the trust of other users on the platform. Here are a few examples to show you how to protect yourself from online spam.
Online impersonation has been rampant in recent years and several countries have imposed strict laws against its violation. Yet, online identity thefts have become one of today’s major concerns. When you log on to a social networking site like Facebook, it’s not uncommon for you to see someone impersonating you or your friend.
This may be because of the poor backend checks that facebook performs but also because of the way the platform is designed inherently.
To be a member of facebook, you would need to provide your personal information such as your real name, email address, phone number. Sometimes, you share your location with the app. It also collects information on what you do when you’re not using the app, such as, for example, what other apps you use and how long you use them!
The drawbacks are clear.
- Your data is being siphoned.
- There is zero privacy.
Though facebook came up with ways to enable users to protect their privacy, by then, the damage had already been done. So the next time your friend texts you, think twice before responding to them. Chances are, they’re an impersonator.
Phishing and spoofing:
Phishing refers to the action of obtaining a person’s sensitive information using dubious methods. The term phishing alludes to “fishing” where malicious actors use phishing emails, messages, links, etc. as a bait to lure unsuspecting users.
For example, you may receive a message that claims to offer you interest free personal loans or lifetime access to premium credit cards for free. These messages are usually accompanied by a phishing link. Clicking the link might lead you to a phishing site that looks exactly like the original. You may be directed to a website that looks exactly like your bank’s website. When you login to this fake website, the malicious actor gains access to your bank account details.
This is the most common type of phishing. Attackers employ bulk SMS campaigns on a list of potential targets. This has now extended to WhatsApp and other similar instant messaging services. Such spam messages are sent at random and make use of the user’s preferences and other personal information to solicit them into visiting the phishing website.
Social engineering is the umbrella term used to describe a combination of malicious practices. Many fall prey to well-orchestrated social engineering, some of which span over a few weeks or months.
Even though we may have taken precautions against being the target of such scams, oftentimes, it is difficult to identify social engineering. The perpetrators try to gather as much data about the target as possible in order to gain their trust.
In the context of crypto, social engineering happens a lot in discord. High net worth individuals such as investors and founders in crypto are targeted. This is because discord, though it offers a range of privacy features, is still a centralized application that requires your email address and phone number.
There are several discord bots that can be used to scrape user information. These bots are also used to constantly DM you spam messages.
The data thus collected becomes the basis for the social engineering attack. This kind of attack is especially dangerous as it can also involve the immediate friends and family of the target.
How does BChat help with reducing spam?
The spam and scam can be avoided with the help of BChat. BChat is a privacy messenger built on the Beldex blockchain. No phone number or email ID is used to identify the user’s account.
Instead, a BChat ID is used as the user identity. No one can know your BChat ID unless you share it with them. There are two kinds of groups on BChat, the Social and Secret groups. Only the users in your BChat contact list can add you to a Secret group.
Social groups are akin to public groups. Most messengers reveal personal information when you join a public group. However, even if a user joins a Social group on BChat, their BChat ID will remain hidden to other members of the group.
This prevents unsolicited DMs, spams and other scam messages from infiltrating your inbox. In a Social group, the admins will have the access to delete spam messages.
In addition to this, BChat also provides a message request feature that will ask for the user’s consent to accept a message from someone who’s not in their contact list. Only after the message request is accepted, the other party can text, make a voice or a video call to you.
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