What A Stranger Can Discover About You Only With Your Mobile Number?
TokAppad warns of the dangers of not using secure messaging apps and makes special mention of the risks derived from mass WhatsApp groups.
The new European data protection law (RGPD) will come into force on May 25 and with it, the eternal debate on the risks of people sharing personal data is on the table again. A study by Kaspersky Lab reveals that 93% of people share information digitally, and notes that 44% of Internet users make their information public, which is more than worrying.
“Once personal data is in the public domain, the owners lose control over it. Proof of this is that 1 in 5 individuals has assured that they share data that we could consider ‘sensitive’ on the Internet. This is a fact that totally limits a person’s ability to have control over their private information, and they expose themselves to identity theft or financial attacks, ”explains Edelmiro Justo, deputy director of TokApp.
When it comes to mobile messaging, surely we have ever been sent a message with an unknown phone number or included in a WhatsApp group with someone we did not know. Two situations that pose a serious danger according to TokApp despite being only a single piece of information: a phone number.
“A person can save a mobile number in his phone book. In the Facebook Messenger application, which allows Facebook users to communicate through private messages, select the option ‘Synchronize contacts’. In this way, that contact will be imported into Facebook Messenger and there it will appear with your Facebook username, which is almost always your real name. Looking for the name on the networks (Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Google..), people can see from photos, what city the person is from, how old they are, what their educational level is, where they work or have worked, what places you usually frequent, your ideology, your musical and cinematographic tastes, who are your friends, your partner or your relatives, and even if you are going to attend an event or concert soon. And, almost in all likelihood, your email address, ”says Justo.
From the company they warn that, by knowing a full name, it is possible to follow a person in public records. ” We could know if a person (or their children) have applied for a place in some State studies and if they were accepted, they will appear in the provisional lists of admitted of the Ministry of Education of their autonomous community, with their ID, the training they are going to take, the center is the one who is going to take it, their academic average grade, and the names of all their future classmates. Or if you have also applied for any State aid, such as one of the MEC scholarships, your full name will appear on the general list of scholarship recipients, and next to it, what benefits you receive (transportation, supplements, fixed amounts linked to income..), in addition to the total economic amount that you will receive. And with that data, consulting the scholarship requirements, you can estimate many others ”, they maintain from TokApp.
This is a sample of everything that can be known, without having hardly any computer knowledge, starting from just a phone number. Or what a complete stranger might know of anyone. “It may seem like something out of an episode of Black Mirror, but it’s real: it doesn’t take more than nine digits ”, warns the deputy director of the messaging app.
How Can We Prevent A Complete Stranger From Getting To Know All Our Personal Data?
From TokApp they point out that there is only one way: preserving our anonymity. For this, they advise that users should try not to publish or transfer data to websites or users that are not fully trusted. But from the Galician company, they maintain that there is something else to which we also have to pay special attention and of which we are often unconcerned: how we send messages.
“More particularly those that we send through the group chats of entities or companies (groups of parents from the school, of workers..) or through domestic groups in which you see yourself included by a third party. And, above all, it is essential to always use secure applications, such as TokApp, that guarantees that your information is not being exposed or disseminated ”, he maintains.
TokApp Complies With Data Protection Legislation
In the case of personal data protection, TokApp adheres to them, including the relevant file legally registered with the Spanish Data Protection Agency, and makes it easier for the user to exercise the right of access, modified, deleted, and challenge.
From the messaging app, audited by two law firms for the next entry into force of the GPDR, they highlight their interest in being totally transparent, offering legal advice to all schools and entities that use their platform.
” The legislation on data protection can be confusing and it is relatively easy to breach it due to ignorance, so in addition to the tranquility that sending by TokApp implies, we are the first and only communication platform that offers legal advice through an independent firm “, clarify Edelmiro Justo, deputy director of TokApp.