Google Chat is a communication tool that allows you to share text, images, and files in a group. It is part of the Google Workspace suite of products, including well-known products like Gmail, Google Classroom, Google Drive, and Google Meet.
But is Google Chat safe for you? You may wonder about this question, especially if you regularly use this tool. In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the security features of Google Chat, its risks, and how to counter them.
Security features of Google Chat
To fully appreciate the safety of an application, it is imperative to know about its security features. In this section, we’ll go through the security features of Google Chat.
Google Chat uses Transport Layer Security (TLS) to protect messages as they are being sent from one user to another. TLS protocol encrypts data and prevents unauthorized access or tampering.
Google stores your data in its data centres, which are the best for cyber security.
Google has a lot of ISO certifications, which means that the company meets the standards of information security management set by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO). ISO certification ensures Google has policies and procedures to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information.
As Google Workspace, of which Google Chat is a part, is an enterprise-grade software, it offers advanced security and compliance features for organisations that use Google Workspace. Some of these features include:
- Data loss prevention (DLP): This feature blocks people from sharing sensitive information such s credit card numbers and other personal identifiers in Google Chat.
- Vault: Using this feature, the administrators can retain, archive, search, and export chat messages for regulatory or legal purposes.
- Mobile Device Management (MDM): This feature is useful in managing the devices that access Google Chat or any other Google Workspace service. Administrators can enforce passwords, wipe data remotely or block access to a stolen device.
- Audit logs: This feature lets the administrators track the activity of users and groups in Google Chat for audit purposes.
As you can see from the above brief analysis, Google Chat is a safe tool to work with. However, this doesn’t mean you should let your guard down while chatting on the platform. Let us understand a few security risks that chatting on this platform can pose.
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Security risks of Google Chat
Despite these security features, Google Chat is not without risks. There are four significant Google Chat security risks that you need to be aware of:
Sensitive image access
You should take care not to share any private pictures of yourself, images of your credit/debit card or other personal identifiers, such as the location of your address and social security number etc., on this or any other social media platform. These images may be used for blackmailing, identity theft, banking fraud, and other cybercrime.
Phishing and malware risks
You may receive phishing messages or malware attachments on your Google Chat from hackers who pretend to be someone you know or trust.
Usually, in these attacks, the hacker sends you a link to download a file and enter your financial or other details. Never click on such fraudulent links or download shady files from the internet.
Cyberbullying and harassment
You may experience cyberbullying or harassment in Google Chat from other users. Usually, these cybercrimes do not cause physical or material harm. However, these messages may cause emotional distress, anxiety, or depression for the victims.
Privacy and consent risks
Other users can share the pictures or texts you shared without your permission. Sometimes, these messages may also contain extremely sensitive information you don’t want to disclose to others.
Understanding the risks involved in these chat platforms is crucial for you to take measures to protect yourself from the dangers of cybercrime. Let us now understand how to use Google Chat safely to ensure maximum productivity and minimal security risks.
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How to use Google Chat safely?
To use Google Chat safely and responsibly, you should follow these tips:
- You should use a strong password and two-factor authorisation for your Google account and device. Both of these methods are the best to beat hackers simply and without having much technical knowledge of computers.
- Do not share sensitive information or images in Google Chat. This will reduce the risk of data loss, identity theft, blackmail, or other malicious consequences.
- Do not click on links or download attachments from unknown or suspicious sources in Google Chat. This will prevent phishing attacks or malware infections that may compromise your account or device.
- Report and block any users who cyberbully or harass you in Google Chat. This will stop their messages from reaching you and alert Google to take action against them.
- Respect the privacy and consent of other users in Google Chat. Do not share their pictures or text. If you want to share it, ask for their consent.
In conclusion, Google Chat is a useful tool that offers many benefits to users. Using this tool comes with its pros and cons. Google provides top-notch security for its tools. However, it is up to you how you can handle the user-side security.
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