Discord is a popular instant messaging and digital distribution platform that lets internet users communicate via voice calls, video calls and instant messages and send media or files via dedicated channels or servers created by community members.
The software is especially beloved by gamers, who can play while talking with teammates or friends at the same time. Since its release six years ago, the platform has gathered over 250 million registered user accounts.
Despite its initial focus on gamers, Discord has evolved into a social platform that caters to a variety of internet users and individuals, including a mature community of cybercriminals and scammers. They use the platform to distribute malicious links that infect users with remote access Trojans (RATs) and cryptocurrency miners.
Like with other social apps, malicious actors have abused Discord to distribute phishing messages to steal login information and sensitive data from users. The platform has also alerted users of self-bots who create automated user accounts that harvest user information from server widgets.
Moreover, anyone can create a private server on the platform, and many users rely on an invitation link to be able to join their desired channel. This leaves plenty of room for criminal activity and exploitation of children and teens. However, Discord can be used safely with the proper privacy settings and monitoring by users at least 13 years of age.
How to use Discord securely
- Don’t give your account login information or token to anyone. Be particularly vigilant of phishing emails impersonating Discord that ask for your information.
- Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) to add an extra layer of security in case your account is compromised.
- Don’t add bots to the server, as they may compromise your channel.
- Use the privacy settings to control who can contact or send you a friend request. Users have the option to block direct messages from people in a server who are not on their friends’ list and who can add you. This is especially important for teens. Parents can help their children make the adjustments.
- Report any abuse of the platform, spam, phishing attempts or misconduct appropriately here.
- Don’t provide your discord Tag or server link to people you don’t know and trust.
- Don’t access suspicious links or download files received from people you don’t know; block the individual instead.
- Install a local security solution on the device you are using the app (PC or mobile device) to protect against malicious attacks and block any phishing or fraudulent links you may unwittingly access.