Privacy and security are one of the most important things to consider on the internet, and today we will answer your “Is Discord safe?” question!
As one of the most popular communication platforms among gamers, Discord is beloved for its reliability and versatility.
Despite some technical issues, like the soundboard 404 not found error, it’s still one of the best apps of its kind on the market.
Many people even prefer it over in-game voice chat for playing in friend groups. It’s also home to countless communities that revolve around shared interests.
Regardless of whether you’re a highly competitive Overwatch player or just want to have a place to chit-chat about your favorite movie franchise, chances are that there is a public Discord server out there for you.
However, for all the benefits, Discord is not without its disadvantages.
Over the years, people have exposed quite a few significant flaws in the app’s security, leading many to reconsider their usage of the popular messaging platform.
In this article, we’ll go over Discord’s most glaring security problems and how to safeguard yourself against them.
Is Discord safe? Why you should be concerned
The main reason why Discord is not considered to be the safest application out there has everything to do with the way it gathers and manages user data.
And it’s a lot of data. As of June 2023, Discord has over 196 million monthly active users, and one of its most popular features among gamers, the always-on voice chat, uses up to 28MB per hour, a lot more than voice calls on other messaging apps.
That’s without factoring in the other data-intensive features, such as video calls, which can eat up to 270MB per hour.
High data usage isn’t necessarily a hallmark of an unsafe app. Unfortunately, a lot of Discord’s data-handling practices are cause for concern.
Three of them, in particular, could be reasons enough for privacy-minded users to abandon the app altogether.
Reason #1: No control over data collection
As a Discord user, you can prevent the app from using your data in any way, but there is no toggle for keeping the company from collecting it.
This means that even if you don’t give Discord permission to make use of your data (e.g. sell it off to advertisers), they’ll still store it on their servers indefinitely anyway; they just won’t be able to utilize it.
Discord also stores other information about you on its servers. This includes what programs you’re running at the moment, as well as system-specific information that makes your hardware identifiable.
If you feel strongly about online privacy, that leaves you with a question: is Discord safe and trustworthy enough for you to hand your communication data over to them?
Reason #2: Poor file regulation
User-to-user communications aren’t the only things that pass through Discord’s servers. Many people also use it to share all sorts of files with each other.
You can upload virtually any type of file onto a Discord server, and the application won’t filter them.
Plenty of users reported getting their computers infected with viruses originating from files they’ve downloaded from Discord.
The most recent one that made headlines is AnarchyGrabber3, a password-stealing trojan.
Not only is it capable of exposing your passwords, but it can also disable two-factor authentication on your accounts and spread itself to your network of acquaintances.
While we’re on the topic of file sharing on Discord, it’s also worth mentioning that once you upload a file to a server, everybody will be able to download it via a shareable Discord download URL.
This includes unregistered users. Furthermore, even if you delete your account, the company will still store the messages and content you’ve shared on its servers.
So if someone gets their hands on the download URL to your file, they could still potentially identify you based on the file’s contents.
Reason #3: No end-to-end encryption
End-to-end encryption is a standard feature in most messaging apps. Even platforms like WhatsApp or Messenger, notorious for harvesting and misusing user data, have implemented it.
The lack of end-to-end encryption means that a data breach can essentially turn every message you’ve sent on Discord into publicly available information.
It may not be a big deal if you only talk about games on there, but anyone using Discord for sensitive business communications might want to start thinking about exploring Discord alternatives.
How to stay safe on Discord
Despite all of its privacy shortcomings, Discord remains an incredibly handy application to have. It’s understandable that you might be doubtful about removing it from your life.
After all, its voice chat and community aspects are state-of-the-art, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what Discord can do.
You can use it to share Netflix with your friends, meet new, like-minded people, or even take part in online classes.
You don’t have to delete your Discord account, but you might want to reconsider how you’re using the app. Implement the following tips to get started:
- Don’t share sensitive information. Stick to Discord for after-hours conversations on games and other hobbies. Refrain from talking about business matters or revealing any identifiable information about yourself.
- Be wary of Discord download URLs. Given how easy it is to upload trojans onto Discord servers, you should never download and open Discord files from unknown sources.
- Make use of Discord’s privacy settings. While they’re not perfect, they still grant some degree of protection. For starters, you should limit your friend requests to friends of friends and server members to steer clear of phishing attempts.
The truth is that no social media or messaging app is 100% safe and foolproof, especially when it comes to user privacy, and Discord is no exception. If you want to make the most of it, check out our guides on how to find Discord servers or how to change your Discord display name.
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