Is Slack Secure? We find out


A revolution among the instant communication app system has set off and become the fundamental part of business interactions and co-worker communication. Slack is now highly preferred by every business owner as it is both accommodating in the workflow as well as reliable and instant chat. Speaking of its preference, it got successful in replacing other collaboration apps because of its excellent management feature. But, while sharing confidential data through slack, one must have thought about slack security. It is essential to figure out how secure is slack and what steps could be taken to avoid any mishap.

Slack is a great messaging app used for both internal and external communication between the company and its clients. It is foremost for people to learn if slack is trustworthy. To find out, we have assembled some facts down below for convenience.

Slack security

Ever tried searching google to find out about slack security and found yourself surrounded by numerous bombshells disclosing that slack is not very secure. But, it is not a thing to worry about because slack has made significant efforts to bring itself with excessive security.

Before 2020, Slack was not secure enough to use as a business tool, it had its fair share of criticism. However, soon after this phase, slack started introducing multiple security updates in 2019 and 2020 for 3 straight months and turned out to be more secure.

Queries that should be considered when collaborating through slack

It is not only slack that makes people think that it is not worth it. It is nearly impossible to come up with an app that is totally secured and can be trusted fully by its users. 

While using slack it is important to consider some questions that are discussed down below along with their solutions.

How do the team members get access to the slack workspace?

Bluejacking can be a threat to the slack workspace. Hackers can get access to personal workspaces easily. Using open-source credentials, it becomes possible for hackers to find out who is the admin for a workspace. This lets hackers avail themselves the highest level of access to the workspace through bluejacking attempts.

As slack has improved its security, it has become easier for a hacker to get access to user’s authentications. Although authentications can be purchased or reused, gaining access through hacking has proved to be more successful.

Hacking attempts can interfere personally with the users or team members of channels in the Slack workspace. For example, if an unknown document is uploaded mistakenly on the workspace and someone downloads and opens it, it will infect the user the same way the people get infected through other social apps when they fill specific forms or open a login link without realizing, it is an attempt.

Solution

Although, it is nearly impossible to refrain hackers from making hacking attempts on the workspace. Why? It is because social awareness has reached the highest level of advancement and brought up unchallenging ways to get into someone’s personal space. The only way to put an end to hacking is to educate employees. A campaign should be run to spread awareness among the employees to peg access to their credentials.

Other than that, multifunction authentication and single sign-on can also be considered to freeze hacking attempts.

What sort of details are being shared through slack?

Is it that very sensitive data is being shared through slack? Like, company’s confidential details, clients’ credentials, or employees’ data. If the hacker gains access to the workspace then all of the data that is being shared via slack can be at risk. 

Hackers can also get access to the team channels, even the most private ones, as the hacker acquires the admin’s credential it will become straightforward to look through the messages that are being shared on the team channel. Also don’t think about sharing slack’s data externally because hackers can reach webhooks and API and infect them too.

Solution

Institutors must think thoroughly about to what extent sensitivity is the data that is being shared through slack and should be aware of the risks that come with sharing key passwords and confidential data. 

Slack has improved its security by making several updates that let admins keep control over sensitive content and keep it protected and secured.

If we talk about its overall assessment, then Slack has made remarkable progress in bringing high-end security updates from time to time. Although, it is the admin’s business to learn the tactics of making workspaces more secure by looking into it and finding what other options are present. As slack has brought several security updates one should inspect the capabilities and control system slack is offering to use slack with more confidence.

Is slack more secure than email?

Slack is the finest way to escape inbox clutter. Especially, when someone is dealing with a group of people and wants to deliver ideas and announcements. Of course, it would be awful to send a piece of content to every member through email. Also, no one loves receiving plenty of emails and even if the emails are received, no one would be bothered to get through every email.

Does slack offer encrypted messaging?

Email is significantly better and secure than slack. As slack currently does not offer End to End encryption for messages.

Encryption is thought to be the most crucial feature in messaging apps to ensure the messages are only kept between two people and are not exposed to any third person. When someone has encrypted messages it means that the messages can only be read by two people that are communicating. The messages can be read by having exchanged two digital devices’ keys between people. Therefore, an intruder even if gets accomplished in accessing the system wouldn’t be able to go through the messages as the key is not carried.

At slack, the messages are encrypted; this implies that the communication is secured from any third party. The messages are safe both in transit and at rest. Previously, slack only offered encryption to messages at rest, which is minacious. With this limited feature, attackers could have access to the messages easily if the network turned out to be the same as the attacker. Now that’s no longer a matter of concern.

A bombshell to encounter is slack doesn’t offer end-to-end encryption to messages and that’s a concern. But the company stated that it is already providing several options to make the data more secure by using Enterprise Key Management (EKM). 

Using EKM companies that work in sectors like financial departments, hospitals and government-based firms will be free to choose as to how they would like to encrypt files or data that is being shared on the workspace. The company also stated that it is not planned to feature end-to-end encryption soon. As messages at slack cannot be encrypted fully, attackers can prey on the workspace credential data.

Email is a better option

After going through the above details, one could easily decide whether to go for email or slack. 

Moreover, there could be other cases too when someone would want to avoid slack. Email is way more formal than slack, if someone wants to build a strong business relationship at the beginning then email can be a better idea. Also, one can go for slack if it is a matter of detailed communication.

Privacy is influential to any company and it cannot be compromised at any cost. When people want to maintain privacy in the work, for example, the communication between two people is more confidential and secure than speaking to a group of people implies chatting in a channel at stack. 

Combining all of the above points, it won’t be backbreaking to conclude that email is significantly better and secure than slack.

Microsoft teams vs slack

Microsoft teams is more secure, allows a much higher number of participants in video conferences (15 vs. 250), and is more preferred in corporate settings, while slack is mostly used by small start ups on a budget.

Meeting

Slack and teams both offer the audio and video calling feature. However, teams is more preferred over slack because of the years of working experience that teams have built by serving large and small businesses in collaboration with other communication apps.

Slack’s video conference will let you add 15 participants along with video sharing, this all comes under the paid plan. In contrast, teams offer video conferences of 250 participants at a time with video sharing which is free. However, the number of participants can increase as you go for the paid plan. With this, you can even add 10,000 attendees to your webinars, conferences, and online office meetings. Teams also provide features like recording, background blur, and so on.

Channels

Channels can be managed and created in both slack and teams. Channels let you have your privacy. At teams, the channels are more private and secured as you create a channel office 365 activates to manage all the data.

Slack lets you share the channels externally with other organizations and have external communication. Emails can also be sent directly through slack channels (paid plan).

Security

Speaking of privacy and security, teams tops the list because of its advanced data security and administration controls. Microsoft teams and slack both have to offer encrypted messaging and two-factor authentication. Teams have an advanced level of security as it shows how to keep the data with the four tiers of compliance frameworks. Teams is known as D-tier compliant, because of this extraordinary feature. 

Furthermore, teams permit a wide range of controls to admin such as modifying team members’ names, owners, files, and sharing and accessing permissions. 

 Slack Security Tips and Recommendations

Some security tips that can make your workspace and your account more secure. 

  • Set up 2FA
  • Handle apps carefully
  • Restrict access to your workspace
Is Slack Secure

Set up two-factor authentication

If you want extra security for your account, you can go for two-factor authentication. Even if your account’s password is exposed you wouldn’t worry about having it in someone else’s hands.

Here’s how it works:

  • You will need your mobile phone when you log in to your slack account.
  • A verification code and password will be needed each time you enter your account.
  • It is up to you whether you want a verification code through an authentication app or by a text message.
  • If you are a member of two workspaces then you will need to make two accounts on the authentication app.

Handle apps carefully

This feature is only for workspace owners. As anyone on the workspace can install any app to get connected to a third party without the permission of the owner. This can be controlled by the owner.

How to manage which apps can be installed by members and by which members:

  • Firstly, authorize app approval to restrain or permit apps.
  • Let members request apps that are not being approved.
  • Determine if members can sign in to other apps through their slack accounts.
  • Restrict members to install certain apps using the slack app directory.

Restrict access to your workspace

Choose appropriate people to have access to your workspace by following these steps:

  • It should be only admins and workspace owners who send an invitation. If members are allowed to do so, members’ approvals should be monitored by admins carefully.
  • Deactivate accounts that are no longer part of your workspace. 
  • If you are working with external companies and don’t want them to have full access to your workspace, then you can share channels with them to work through more safely.
  • If your clients need limited access to some channels, then they must be allotted guest accounts.
  • Admin can control who can see the email address provided on each member’s profile.

Reference

Emidio Amadebai

Emidio is an IT Engineer, Technology enthusiast, Blogger, and Author who loves to learn and share everything he learns along the way with others.

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