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Delete ‘Go SMS Pro’ from your Android to avoid a major privacy and security flaw

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Screenshot: Brendan Hesse

That The Go SMS Pro SMS app has over 100 million installations from the Google Play Store, but popularity does not matter: You must ptop using it and delete it from your phone now. Cybersecurity firm Trustwave recently discovered a major security loophole in the app which makes all photos, videos and other attachments you have sent via the app publicly available.

(It’s very bad.)

Here’s what’s going on: All media files that you send via Go SMS Pro are stored on a server and assigned a URL. These URLs are not protected in the least, which makes them accessible to anyone else who knows the correct URL.

But it files are also sequentially ordered so that you can access other media files hosted by Go SMS Pro by editing any common hyperlink. Using this method TechCrunch found sensitive financial information, home addresses, transaction receipts and explicit photos that had been sent through the app. These links are not limited to Go SMS Pro users: Anyone who knows the URL schema of a link can easily extrapolate to find more.

It’s a big privacy issue, but what’s most alarming is that Go SMS Pro’s developers do not seem to be in a hurry to solve the problem. Trustwave immediately notified the developers of the issue in August 2020, but no one responded. The company made four more unsuccessful attempts before revealing the error publicly. TechCrunch and The edge also sent emails to the developer, but the messages were either ignored or returned to the sender due to “full inboxes”. The Verge also discovered that the site listed in the app’s Play Store list is not loading.

Need to trust Go SMS Pro’s developer? For these reasons, the app controls all our not recommend boxes. If you’re one of the many millions of people who’ve already installed it, stop using the app and delete it – and tell all contacts who use it to do the same. There is nothing you can do about media files you have already sent using the app, unfortunately.

Here are some quick alternatives to messaging apps you can try:

  • The simplest option is to return to the default messaging app on your phone, e.g. Google Messages or Samsung Messages.
  • WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are basically the same chat service at this point, and both can also serve as your default SMS app. They can also connect to your Instagram DMs if you update your Instagram app and you have the ability to encrypt your conversations.

Then there are the apps that first focus on privacy, such as Signal, Telegram and Viber, which offers features like end-to-end encryption, including best settings for automatic deletion of texts and attachments. These are much better choice when you need to send text-sensitive information or files specifically Avoid Go SMS Pro.

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