Discord privacy and security problems and settings

Anton P. | December 2, 2022

Discord privacy and security issues begin with data management, account protection, and the dangers of real-time chats. Many believe the Discord environment is fertile ground for illicit content, cyberbullying, human trafficking, and other cybercrimes. 

Discord also seems to share aggregated users’ data with unknown third parties. Moreover, it is not the safest among instant messaging applications: no support for end-to-end communications. 

Let’s explore how Discord works and whether it is a suitable option for joining or building online communities. 

Discord transparency reports on privacy and security

Discord regularly releases transparency reports on prevalent security issues and potentially criminal activities. They deliver insights into the actions taken to combat behavior violating company guidelines. 

The most recent transparency report, covering the second quarter of 2022, gives Discord users the following insights: 

  • Around 15% of Discord employees work toward making the platform safe. 
  • Discord issues warnings to potential offenders of less severe Community Guidelines. 
  • In total, Discord teams have sent 13,562 warnings, 39% more than in the previous quarter. Servers received 64.5%, while server members received 26%. 
  • Discord disabled 726,759 accounts in the second quarter for guideline violations.
  • For violations relating to spam, Discord shut down 27,733,948 accounts

Also, reported offenses illustrate the Discord privacy and security dangers that users might encounter: 

  • Misinformation 
  • Hateful conduct 
  • Harassment and bullying 
  • Exploitative and unsolicited content 
  • Illegal activities 
  • Violent and graphic content 
  • Impersonation

The latest transparency report can also make many people doubt Discord privacy. It claims to have received 1,647 legal requests. In total, Discord disclosed information for 1,448 of them. 

While such legal assistance punishes offenders, it also makes Discord less suitable for independent journalists or privacy supporters. 

What information Discord collects about users? 

According to the Discord privacy policy, the platform collects or receives the following users data: 

  • Username 
  • Email address 
  • Info about communications (to guarantee their delivery)
  • Information about the device (IP address, operation system, browser information) 
  • Log and event information on how people use their Discord accounts 
  • Phone number 
  • A thumbnail cover image for screen streams 
  • Friends list and friend requests 
  • Optional features can let Discord see other details (like what song or video game you play at the moment)

Discord uses the collected data to provide and personalize its services, and enforce its policies and rights. 

Also, some Discord users’ data will get shared with related entities like parents, affiliates, subsidiaries, and other companies. 

Furthermore, Discord shares aggregated data with third parties. However, current de-identification techniques might only anonymize data partially. 

Discord security threatened by malware 

Discord malware is a term used to refer to infections and viruses distributed via this platform. In other instances, experts have reported malicious infections that steal Discord accounts

Here are some notorious examples of Discord malware over the years: 

  • TikTok Invisible Challenge tricked users into downloading WASP malware. The latter aims to capture Discord account credentials. 
  • SpideyBot malware modified Windows Discord client to steal personal information. It could get access to IP addresses, usernames, email addresses, phone numbers, and more. However, the malware also read the content copied to the clipboard. 
  • A JavaScript library disguised as “fallguys” promised an interface for the Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout game API. Used as bait for developers, the vicious package stole information about users’ browsing history and Discord activity. 

How to get the best Discord privacy and security? 

You might already adore using Discord on computers and mobile devices. Or your friends refuse to leave the platform with you. Thus, if Discord is your go-to chat application, follow these recommendations to improve security and privacy. 

Use two-factor authentication 

Enabling two-factor authentication means securing your Discord account even if your password gets compromised. You can pick from available 2-FA authenticator apps that you use for other services. 

Be careful with messages from server members 

Discord can scan the messages you receive. However, you might need to adjust which messages get checked: 

  • Keep me safe is a setting that lets Discord scan messages from everyone. 
  • My friends are nice refers to an option allowing Discord to scan messages from everyone except friends. 
  • Do not scan is a setting preventing Discord from scanning the messages. 

Do not accept anyone trying to add you as a friend 

Joining Discord communities and finding new like-minded friends are ways to make the chat platform feel like home. However, similarly to social media, do not accept random friend requests.

If you do, you might begin receiving bizarre messages, spam, or phishing links. Discord users have also reported many bot accounts trying to compromise their accounts. Thus, be careful who you accept to be your friend. 

Review Discord user settings 

Set data privacy controls by disabling the following settings: 

  • Use data to improve Discord.
  • Use data to customize my Discord experience.
  • Allow Discord to track screen reader usage. 

Also, limit who can send you direct messages and friend requests. 

Look for alternative chat and VoIP platforms 

Discord privacy and security give you reasons to switch to another provider: 

  • Lack of end-to-end encryption for communications. E2EE gives Signal or Telegram the advantage against Discord. 
  • Discord accounts have become a common target for hackers. Many malware campaigns hope to collect information regarding Discord users’ accounts. 
  • Discord receives quite a bit of information about its users. You might wish to use a chat service that does not need as much data.
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Anton P.

Anton P.

Former chef and the head of Atlas VPN blog team. He's an experienced cybersecurity expert with a background of technical content writing.

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