Long gone are the days of sending letters as a means of communication. Nowadays, everything is digital, with a plethora of apps available where individuals connect globally and have real-time conversations.
One of the most popular apps is WeChat that’s gaining momentum among users. However, the million-dollar question is whether WeChat is safe and secure to use.
WeChat is the dominant social media application in China, and it has built its success thanks to its mobile payment service platform, Wechat Pay. The payment platform has made life easier for users, from shopping to hospital appointments, booking taxis, and even getting their food delivered by ordering via the application.
Since WeChat is a leading communication app, you may be wondering whether the service is a secure messaging and communication channel. Moreover, you would want to know whether your privacy and safety would be guaranteed when using the app.
So, how safe and secure is WeChat?
The worst thing that can happen to an online enthusiast is losing personal information to third parties. However, with WeChat, like other messaging and communication apps, it’s safe to use and only requires user registration with a verified mobile phone number alongside a password to get started.
Your security will be assured as long you protect your device and your credentials. That way, your messages, and personal profile will be secure.
However, you should be aware that WeChat, by default, will keep you signed in even if you close the app. That could be a severe risk of losing and exposing your information if you lose your device or it’s stolen. Imagine someone accessing all your messages with a breeze!
Therefore, ensure that you’re always careful, and are not taking anything to chance, ensure that you log out completely once you’re finished with the app to keep everything private.
Ali Qamar, the consumer security champion at Privacy Savvy, an independent education platform dedicated to keeping users informed about digital security, had the following to say on WeChat safety:
WeChat does not boast end-to-end encryption like WhatsApp, a privacy feature expected by users from most of messaging apps today. However, the China-based app does not have any backdoors, which means no third parties can read the messages a user sends and receives.
One thing of concern with WeChat
A lesser-known safety concern with WeChat is when you sign up. From the get-go, the app’s privacy settings are automatically set for you, which allows other users to find you quickly and even send a contact request when they search for nearby contacts.
Therefore, to avoid such cases, you should always ensure that once you sign up, you go ahead and tweak your privacy settings yourself. Failing to do so could get you exposed line.
Is WeChat reliable?
Another prominent question asked about the app is whether this social media platform is reliable. It’s a reliable messaging service provided you have an internet connection. You can then send and receive images, make video and voice calls without issues.
Therefore, it’s easy to say that WeChat is a reliable service, and any problems with connections could only be from the weak internet connection of a user.
Some tips for using WeChat safely
The service could be reliable and safe to use, but that doesn’t guarantee security if you remain reckless. The way you handle the app may define whether you’re secure using the application or not. Therefore, to ensure that you’re always on the right track, here are some of the most effective tips that you should apply;
Never forget to sign out
You must always sign out of the account every time you’re finished. The reason being, as hinted earlier, your account will be accessible in case you lose your device.
To sign out; tap on the apps menu, get to settings and then log out. It won’t cost you anything to always enter your password whenever you want to sign in to your account. You don’t want a third-party accessing your messages in case you lost your mobile phone, do you?
Change privacy settings
As noted above already, when creating the account, your privacy settings will be set to make you visible to other nearby users by default. Therefore, you should ensure that immediately you sign up, you should update your privacy settings to those that you’ll be comfortable with.
For instance, you can block unfriendly users or change how other users can found you. You only need to tap on a toggle button to disable or enable a setting.
Stay away from the “Shake” function
WeChat has a “Shake” function, whereby you only shake the phone to get to see another user shaking precisely at the same time as you across the globe. It means that, by default, those users can send a greeting, and by responding, you can add them to the contact list.
Perhaps, it’s an excellent way to connect across the world. However, unfortunately, it comes with a security concern, given that the greetings only come by default. Somehow, some users could be targeting other users by sending spyware, and you can be on their line, so avoid the “shake” function.
Not every stranger should be your friend
Making friends is an excellent way of socializing and having to know folks across the globe. In that case, WeChat has got you covered as you can search for friends nearby. However, you should be careful about the individuals you add.
For instance, adding someone you don’t know is equally like talking to a stranger. Not everyone may seem to be who they seem to be; some could be looking for targets to exploit. Therefore, as a rule of thumb, you should only stick to the friends that you know.
Think before you send
Once you send that image or message, the user will have control over your pictures and words. Maybe you can say that you can follow it up by deleting the message, but that will only happen on your end.
What you sent will remain with the user, and what can be done to it, you never know. Therefore, before sending, ensure that you’re sure about it because you’ll never take it back from the moment you press on send.
Have a strong password
Creating a strong password is one way to stay secure on WeChat. Your password should be robust and hard to guess. A strong password should have at least eight characters, including numbers, letters, and symbols.
All in all, WeChat is a safe and secure service to use and it’s reliable too. The only thing is, you need to take the responsibility of your privacy enhancement in your own hands alongside following some general security practices.