Mobility

Keep sensitive data in texts private and screenshot-proof with Confide

If you're concerned about the privacy of sensitive data transmitted via SMS, you may want to employ the Confide app for all business-related SMS messages.

confidehero.jpg
Image: Jack Wallen

Let's say you send a text message that contains sensitive information. What happens when the recipient takes a screenshot of the text and posts that information on a social forum?

While it's rare, this can (and does) happen. How can you avoid it? One method is to employ an app called Confide.

Confide allows you to send messages to a recipient — who either has to be using the same app or must be viewing the messages in a browser via a link — and prevent them from taking a screenshot of the message. For anyone who is seriously concerned about privacy, this could be a must-have app. Let's dive in and see if it's right for you.

Before you install the app, here's what you need to know.

  • You must sign up for a Confide account (it's free).
  • All messages self-destruct after they are read.
  • All messages are encrypted and can only be read by the recipient.
  • All messages are read line-by-line (you cannot read the entire message at once).
  • Messages cannot be forwarded.
  • If the recipient isn't using Confide, they will be sent an invite link.

Installing Confide

  1. Open the Google Play Store on your Android device.
  2. Search for Confide.
  3. Locate and tap the entry by Confide.
  4. Tap Install.
  5. Read the permissions listing.
  6. If the permissions listing is acceptable, tap Accept.
  7. Allow the installation to complete.

Upon first launching Confide, you will walk through a few welcome screens and then be prompted to sign up for an account. Tap the Sign Up button and fill out the required information. You will be sent a 6-digit confirmation code via SMS — enter that in the required field (Figure A), and you're ready to rock.

Figure A

Figure A
Image: Jack Wallen

Setting up Confide on a Verizon-branded Droid Turbo.

The next step is to opt into connecting with Facebook. If you choose not to do this, you can do it later. The advantage isn't readily apparent, so I opted to not make this connection. You will also be required to verify your account via the email address used to sign up.

After you've opted out of or into Facebook, you will be required to send your first message (Figure B).

Figure B

Figure B
Image: Jack Wallen

Sending your first message with Confide.

Type your message and tap the Send button. Then you will select a recipient for the message from your contact list or enter the recipient's information manually. Find the contact(s), tap to select, and then tap the Send button. If the contact has not signed up for Confide, they will receive a message stating that the sender has sent them a confidential message via Confide, and that they can view the message by tapping the included link (Figure C).

Figure C

Figure C
Image: Jack Wallen

Message received.

When you open a message in Confide, what you will see is redacted text. You swipe your finger from top to bottom to read the message. Once you've read the complete message, it vanishes. While you read the message, it is not possible to take a screenshot or copy the text. In fact, if a recipient attempts to take a screenshot of a message, both you and the recipient will be notified, and the recipient is kicked out of the message.

Summary

If you send text messages containing sensitive data, you owe it to yourself to look into Confide. It will help protect this data and aid in keeping your information from being shared (whether intentionally or not) on social networking sites.

Are you concerned with privacy on a level that would lead you to the likes of Confide? Tell us in the discussion.

Also see

About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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