Kik Messenger Platform and Security Concerns
Kik Messenger continues to grow in popularity among the younger generations as a social messaging platform. In general, its messaging platform is one of the most highly rated data-based instant messaging platforms in the app world today thanks to its cross-platform capability and high speed message delivery. In many cases, it is right up there with WhatsApp messenger, some believe it is better, however WhatsApp remains more popular and has been around for longer.
Kik Messenger starts with a private username and password which can be shared with friends to chat privately. As with many other apps (such as Tango, Zello, etc), Kik Messenger scans your devices address book to identify contacts who are also in Kik. In the past this scan was apparently somewhat aggressive, resulting in the removal of Kik Messenger form the RIM Blackberry App Store due to this feature and privacy concerns by RIM. However, according to latest research, this now this appears to have been ratcheted down and privacy concerns from this feature of the app appear to be minimized (however, always keep one eye open for apps that request permissions to your address book).
The problem starts when users (especially minors) start to share their Kik usernames on public or semi-public forums such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Ask.fm, Online Chat Engines, or App reviews (the number of reviews of the Kik app in the Google Play and iTunes Stores providing messenger usernames is astonishing, give it a look). Once this username information is released, anyone can contact the account holder with this username. When someone invites you to join on Kik (this is the start, you have to accept and invite before you can start a conversation with that person) there is no validation on who the user is which is sending you the invite, if you don’t know who they are or haven’t seen them use their Kik account, then there is no guarantee.
A few good articles have been posted on this topic and how the problem can span out of control when used with Instagram and other systems. If this sound a little to close to home, I would recommend reading them here (see below).
What Parents Need to Know About KIK Messenger App
Parents Beware: Instagram & Kik Messenger Are A Dangerous Combination & What Social Dangers to Check For
Picture to Pedophile: The Danger of Instagram and Kik Messenger