When you send a text message to someone else, there’s a long, complicated path from your phone to theirs. If you’ve ever wondered just how that network works, this video breaks it down.
In the simplest terms, when you send a text message, it’s picked up by the nearest phone tower, transmitted to a nearby mobile switch centre and stored there until it can be delivered to its destination. Most of the time it’s only stored for a few seconds, but if the target phone is offline or out of network, it can take a little longer.
Admittedly, some of this information might be pretty basic for the average Lifehacker reader, but it’s important to keep in mind when we talk about things like the security of two-factor authentication. If you’re using SMS messages to get authentication codes, those phone towers and switching centres add a lot of weak links that attackers can target. Which is why you should use something more secure like authenticator apps when you can.
Where Do Your Texts Go? [ASAP Science]