Should you keep using WhatsApp? Plus five tips to start the year with your digital privacy intact

www.theguardian.com
5 min read
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We spoke to convicted hacker turned security consultant Kevin Mitnick to find out how to maintain your security online
Should you keep using WhatsApp? Plus five tips to start the year with your digital privacy intact

If you use the popular messaging service WhatsApp you may have noticed a pop-up message in recent days asking you to accept the service's new terms and conditions by 8 February in order to continue using it.

The update has prompted calls for users to leave the popular messaging service in favour of alternatives such as Signal and Telegram. And on Friday a legal challenge on privacy grounds was filed against WhatsApp in India, the service's biggest market. Telegram CEO Pavel Durov has reported an influx of 25 million global users to the rival service since the announcement was made.

Elon Musk (@elonmusk) Use Signal

But what do the new terms and conditions mean for you? We asked former most-wanted hacker turned security consultant Kevin Mitnick which messaging app he prefers – and to share his tips to set yourself up for a cyber-safe 2020.

"I prefer Signal because I know the developer behind the original project, and I know that Signal has been tested in the security community," Mitnick says. "I believe Telegram has too, and I use Telegram, but not for secure messages."

You can read WhatsApp's Q&A about the changes here, but the main thing to know is that messages remain end-to-end encrypted and WhatsApp maintains that neither it, nor anyone else, has access to the content of messages between friends, family and groups. WhatsApp also says it doesn't keep records of your call logs, share your contacts with Facebook and can't see your shared location.

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What has changed is privacy around the content of communication between individuals and businesses that use Facebook hosting services, which will now be accessible to those businesses for their own marketing purposes. As the Guardian's UK technology editor, Alex Hern, points out the changes aren't huge, but…
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