Just about everyone today uses chat programs for either personal conversations or to exchange business information. Many people don’t even give it a second thought, but the fact is that almost all the most popular chat programs are unencrypted. This means that if a hacker were to intercept a conversation, or gain access to the chat archives they could just read right through the entire conversation. This could be potentially embarrassing for some people, or devastating to a business if the wrong type of information was intercepted.
So, what can you do to stop it? There are a few different options to choose from that will allow you to encrypt the chat conversations so they are extremely difficult to decode if a hacker happens to get access to them. Which one is right for you will depend on a variety of factors including things like the type of computer you have and what types of chat programs you’re used to. Here are some great options to consider.
- Java Chat Programs
There are several java (a common programming language) based chat programs which offer the option to turn on encryption. The most common types of encryption used for this type of chat program takes place on the server which also means that only the specific user the chat message was intended for can access it. It does not, however, provide any extra security for the client’s computer which means a stolen laptop will likely have unencrypted chat logs the thief can access.
- Secure Instant Messaging Programs
Most people use either AIM, Google Chat or MSN (Communicator) to do their chatting, and these are all unencrypted. If security is a concern you can choose other programs such as “X-IM” or “BitWise IM” which offer encryption for chatting. These programs encrypt the message on the client’s PC ensuring it is secure from the point it was created all the way through to the time the recipient receives it.
- Plugins and 3rd Party Encryption
There are plugins and encryption software programs available that people can download and install that will encrypt the chat data from a variety of different chat programs. This is a good option for many people because they often work in the background so there is no real noticeable difference in how the chatting works. It is, of course, important for both people who are chatting to use these programs or plugins or the data could still be intercepted on one end.
Chatting is a great way of communicating, but it is still important to remember that security should always come before convenience, especially when discussing business or private information. Whichever encryption method works best for you, it is important to make sure you are taking the necessary steps to keep all your data safe whenever you’re online and that means chat programs too!