It seems that many people think that sending SMS messages is safer than sending messages through social media. They feel there is less chance of someone intercepting their message. But is this true? Are SMS messages encrypted?
Are SMS messages encrypted?
No, SMS messages are not encrypted. This is because the SMS protocol requires that SMS messages remain unencrypted.
So what does this mean? Well, it means that at no point in the process of sending messages (i.e. from one user to another) are the messages sent mixed. What goes in and what comes out is read in exactly the same way as what goes over the cellular network.
SMS messages are not encrypted to ensure compatibility between networks. It ensures that you can easily text someone on a different network provider.
Which also means that you can use SMS Verifications for TikTokYouTube and other social media apps.
There are no plans to introduce SMS encryption. It will be fairly expensive, and there is little chance that you will be able to get every cellular network approved. remember SMS messages can be sent all over the world, which means every network has to agree to a change in the way things are handled. This will not happen.
Until recently, most people weren’t worried about whether SMS messages were encrypted anyway. This is because most people did nothing more than text their friends and family. Of course, with the introduction of 2FA, with SMS playing a major role in this, more people are now concerned about security.
As a final note here (and we’ll discuss this later), both the iOS “iMessage” app and Android’s “Messages” offer encryption for sent text messages. However, their encryption only works between the same versions of the app. This means that Apple does not have the ability to decrypt messages that have been sent through Android. This is not a technical SMS encryption. The SMS is still not encrypted, the message has been scrambled by the app.
Who can see your SMS messages?
Well, both the sender and the recipient can see the SMS messages.
Cellular service providers that SMS messages pass through can also see the messages. Although they are unlikely to read it. While the information is open to the network provider, they will have protocols in place that physically prevent people from reading messages unless there is an important reason to do so. In any case, these messages will be deleted from the servers in a couple of days anyway.
It should be noted that the cellular network may retain some information about your SMS messages after a few days. However, they will never keep the content of the message. You don’t have to worry about that. It’s more information about who the message is being sent from, the recipient, the times, etc. This is just in case law enforcement is knocking and needs information about certain time frames in which the messages were sent. You don’t need to know about this.
If you send a message via iMessage or Messages (we mentioned this earlier), your cellular network will only see the ciphertext (they can’t understand it), but they’ll still have a history of the sender, recipient, and times.
The government can also read your messages. In fact, at one point in time, the US government was intercepting tens of millions of SMS messages every day. Although we can’t imagine they were reading that many. As long as there’s no reason for the government to read your messages (i.e. you’re a criminal or you said some trigger word), you’ll be fine. Of course, the government still does. Although you really don’t have to worry about this.
The people you should be concerned about are SMS snoopers. People can connect to cellular networks and intercept messages. Because these messages are not encrypted, they will be able to read them. Fortunately, this is less of a problem than it was in the past. Cellular networks have taken huge steps to prevent SMS and call snooping. However, there is only so much they can do. If someone is determined to read your SMS messages, they will read your SMS messages. Fortunately, most people don’t care enough to read your SMS messages.
Is there any way to encrypt SMS messages?
Unfortunately, there is no way to encrypt SMS messages. Although, as mentioned, there is often a good reason to do so. Definitely. There might be people snooping around hoping to get a sniff of the messages you receive, but this is an extremely rare problem.
If you send messages to your friends and family regularly, you can use programs like What App to send messages. You will send this via the phone number. It’s not strictly SMS, but there is no more secure service for sending and receiving messages.
However, iMessage on iOS and Messages on Android both offer some encryption with SMS messages. Both of these apps will encrypt them. However, the caveat is that you should be sending a message to someone who has exactly the same operating system as you. This means that the message sent from iOS to Android will not be encrypted.
Sadly, this doesn’t really help when you receive an OTP for your 2FA, but there’s not much you can do about it other than look for another system that will fully encrypt it for you. Unfortunately, this may be more difficult than you think if you use certain companies. Not every business will allow you to do something other than a One Time Password via SMS.
SMS messages are not encrypted. There are some ways to make it look like it’s encrypted, but the actual SMS protocol is not encrypted and it’s unlikely it will ever be. For free sms checks you can use sites like SMSPool.net.