How to be scandal-proof in the age of data breaches

Data breaches are on the rise. Since January 2017, there have been reports of security breaches using stolen information to access accounts.

In 2019, Vietnam has 143.3 million mobile phone subscribers, 148% the population (96.96 million), including 58 million mobile social media users who are usually browsing Facebook. It provides a giant source of data – a fatty prey attracting many online predators.

And it is not uncommon that the prey submit themselves to the predators, by giving permission for apps to access their data. It is a compulsory step before you can use the apps for free.

In the last few weeks, many Vietnamese have found their newfeed full of pictures of “the elderly” – older versions of their friends – made by a worldwide popular app. Installing the app allows it to access and store information about users, such as the images of their face, location, IP address, and where exactly a user clicks inside the app. Social media users are too excited in following trends, and often don’t read the terms and conditions carefully enough.

The trendy app is just one of countless data risks you need to face online.  We should remember that scandals–sexual, political, or simply personal–arise because sensitive information falls into the wrong hands. In a hyper-connected world, everyone needs to be extra careful with their personal data.

Here are what you need to keep in mind:

  1. Think twice before backing up your messages. There are many benefits of encrypted messaging. One of it is that communications are coded in order to make information unavailable to third parties. When two or more devices communicate via an app, the information will be transmitted using a secret code rather than a plain text. But here’s one good point to remember, often, your scrambled messages are unscrambled when they are backed up to the cloud. Which means that authorities can demand your cloud provider – Apple or Google – to retrieve and turn over your messages from its servers.
  2. Make sure your app uses encrypted messaging. When you say end-to-end encrypted messaging, it means all messages that are sent from your device to the person you’re communicating with are in the form of a code that only the recipient’s device can translate to plain text. Which makes it impossible for anyone – even the app maker – to see what’s being said.
  3. Consider deleting messages you never meant to send. Viber, for one, offers a Delete Message option that will allow you to delete any message from both the sender and recipient’s device. It will totally remove the message even if it has already been seen. Once deleted, the content can never be viewed again.
  4. Use secret or hidden chats, when possible. If you want extra privacy when you send messages, use your chat app’s secret chat, if it’s available. Viber has a Secret Chats option that allows you to set a self-destruct time for every message you send in the chat. If you’re an Android user, the recipient can’t take a screenshot of the chat while for iPhone user, the recipient will receive a notification that a screenshot has been taken. But if you want a conversation to not appear in the chat list, then use Viber’s Hidden Chats function. These are normal chats, but they are kept in a secret section of the app that only the sender can access with a PIN.
  5. Keep your apps updated. Lastly, one of the best ways to make sure that you stay secure is to keep your mobile and desktop software up-to-date. Oftentimes software updates are done when app-makers find a security bug or when enterprising hackers have become familiar with the code and have already created hacks to break them. So, update your chat apps when a new version becomes available.

With all the prying eyes everywhere on the Internet, it boils down to the need to be vigilant when it’s our privacy and security that’s on the line. Keep in mind to be careful in choosing the app that you use in all aspects of your life. There’s only one person who can protect you from all these internet mishaps… yourself.


About Rakuten Viber:

At Rakuten Viber, we connect people. No matter who they are, or where they are from. Our global user base has access to a range of features like one-on-one chats, video calls, group messaging, and updates and discussions with their favorite brands and celebrities. We ensure our users have a secure and free environment to share their emotions.

Rakuten Viber is part of Rakuten Inc., a world leader in e-commerce and financial services. It is the official communication channel of FC Barcelona, and the official instant messaging and calling app partner of the Golden State Warriors.

About Rakuten:

Rakuten, Inc. is a global leader in internet services that empower individuals, communities, businesses and society. Founded in Tokyo in 1997 as an online marketplace, Rakuten has expanded to offer services in e-commerce, fintech, digital content and communications to more than 1 billion members around the world. Since 2012, Rakuten has ranked in the top 20 of Forbes Magazine’s annual “World’s Most

Innovative Companies” list. The Rakuten Group has over 14,000 employees, and operations in 29 countries and regions.


Press release distributed by EloQ Communications.

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