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What Is The Most Secure Way To Communicate With Your Coworkers?

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Fri, Dec 19, 2014 at 3:55PM

Companies usually make sure all of their client’s information is secure and safe on their computers. But what happens when your coworker is out of the office or with a client and you have to share secure information with them about your client or your business? Most people resort to the traditional forms of communication: AIM, FaceTime, iMessage, and Skype. But are these means of communication secure enough for your business?

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading nonprofit organization founded in 1990 that is defending the public’s civil liberties in the digital world. They are conducting a study on apps and software that most people use to communicate with the world around them. It is called the Secure Messaging Scorecard. The scorecard is not used to promote any specific tools or to guarantee their security but to show apps and tools that are on the right track to helping keep our information private when needed. 

They went through 40 different tools and determined if they met all of the seven categories. The seven categories were:

  1. Are they encrypted in transit?
  2. Are they encrypted so the provider can’t read it?
  3. Can you verify contacts identities before talking to them?
  4. Are past communications secure if your passwords are stolen?
  5. Is the code open to independent review?
  6. Is security design properly documented?
  7. Has there been any recent code audit?

After looking at the list there were some that stuck out that are known for businesses to use or coworkers who are trying to quickly communicate with their coworkers who are not in the office.

The first one was AIM. Which is a free easy tool that allows you to quickly message and chat with your coworker with out slowing down productivity to get up and track them down and ask them the question.  Well AIM only received a check mark for one category that was the first question: Are the messages encrypted in transit? They did not meet any of the other secure requirements though.

The second common communication tool was FaceTime that is sometimes used to show your coworker something when they are not able to be there for a meeting. This app received 5 check marks in categories: 1, 2, 4, 6, and 7.  That means that they are encrypting the messages in transit, encrypting the messages so even the provider can’t read it, are protecting past communications so if someone hacks into your account, the security design is properly documented, and they have had a recent code audit. 

The third communication tool was iMessage. They received 5 checks as well in the same categories as FaceTime, so their security seems to be consistent through their products. The only ones they did not get checks for was if you could verify the contacts identity of who you are talking to, and if the code is open to independent review. If the code were open to independent review it would help them detect bugs, back doors, and other structural problems.

The final communication tool from the list that is commonly used by businesses is Skype. They only received one check mark out of all seven categories. They were similar to AIM and only succeeded in encrypting the messages in transit. This tool can be used for meetings between various corporate locations, or interviews with a candidate who is out of state. Make sure you are using a secure network before you talk about classified information.

If you are having concerns about communication tools you are using, you can see the full list of the scores for each tool here: https://www.eff.org/secure-messaging-scorecard#about,

If you are a business owner and want to make sure your networks are secure and you need help repairing your computers in the Daytona Beach, Florida area or Ormond Beach, Florida area don’t be afraid to call Vann Data Services, Inc. to help you answer all of your Daytona network security questions. 

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