Author Topic: PMs and privacy questions  (Read 1633 times)

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John_fraser

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PMs and privacy questions
« on: November 01, 2014, 01:08:06 pm »

A question for the people who run this forum

Can PMs sent though this site be read by any third party? I know the messages can be stored on the database, but are they encrypted and hence non-viewable even by anyone with access to the underlying data?


If the messages can be read by a third party, i.e. someone who is neither the sender nor the intended recipient, have they ever been read by a third party? Even if this has happened only once.


I am not suggesting anyone has read a private message and I do not want anyone to think I am insinuating it. I also don't think I've sent anything confidential via PM, but it would be good to know if this is a private channel.
 

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Re: PMs and privacy questions
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2014, 01:49:26 pm »
Can PMs sent though this site be read by any third party? I know the messages can be stored on the database, but are they encrypted and hence non-viewable even by anyone with access to the underlying data?

I am afraid I don't know if the information is encrypted or not, but I can't see any mention of encryption in the SMF pages. (This forum runs on SMF - also called SimpleMachines.)

Personal messages - Online Manual

Some more on this from the SMF documentation page.

"Within the default interface of the SMF software there is no way an administrator or anyone else can read your personal messages. Only you and the person you sent it to are able to read what you wrote. However, if a person has access to the database itself, then it is possible for such a person to read personal messages by searching for them in the database with an SQL command. For this reason, it is advised to not send personal messages that contain private information that you do not wish for anyone else to read."


If the messages can be read by a third party, i.e. someone who is neither the sender nor the intended recipient, have they ever been read by a third party? Even if this has happened only once. I am not suggesting anyone has read a private message and I do not want anyone to think I am insinuating it. I also don't think I've sent anything confidential via PM, but it would be good to know if this is a private channel.

Not to my knowledge.
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Re: PMs and privacy questions
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2014, 03:12:43 pm »
John

I've just checked and personal messages are stored in plain text in a table in the database so could in theory be read by anyone who knows the correct passwords and has the appropriate technical knowledge to do so. It would involve a fair bit of hacking around with a command line interface though!

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John_fraser

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Re: PMs and privacy questions
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2014, 05:42:31 pm »
So to sum up:

They can be accessed by anyone with a basic knowledge of SQL and the appropriate access

No-one is doing this and messages have never been read by a third party.

Thank you
 

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