WhatsApp security

The concept of instant messaging come into the mainstream in the 1990s, allowing family, friends, acquaintances, colleagues, didtant lovers and like-minded thinkers from all over the world to connect in real time. Since then, instant messaging has revolutionized how we communicate, and today over a billion people are signed up for at least one messaging app. The present instant messaging experience is seamless, and it intuitively integrates features like videos, photos, voice, e-commerce, and gaming with plain old messaging.

Among these apps, WhatsApp has comfortably found its place among the most popular messaging platforms nowadays. Like everyone associated with the internet, a matter of security is never far away. 

Considering the huge user base of this messaging app, hackers are always on the lookout for compromised accounts to grab. Today, we are going to cover some of the ways we can protect our WhatsApp account from falling into malicious hands. This is our agenda for today's post

  • We start by learning about the importance of security when it comes to WhatsApp and instant messaging apps in general. 
  • Next, we cover some of the most important steps that should be followed in order to protect our WhatsApp accounts from hackers. 
  • Finally, we learn what we should do when a WhatsApp account gets compromised.

Why did we need to secure our WhatsApp 

Let's start by learning why we need to focus on the safety of WhatsApp. In the year of 2020, the big news was about Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his phone being hacked by Saudi Arabia. A report coming from The Guardian suggested that Bezos' phone was hacked via a video file sent on WhatsApp. The report said that Bezos' mobile phone was hacked by a Saudi Arabian prince in the year 2018 and gigabytes worth of data was stolen from the device. While there are some issues being raised about the report which states with the medium to high confidence that Jeff Bezos' phone was hacked, it does raise the security fear for regular users.

After all, if the phone of one of the world's most powerful men can be hacked, the same can happen to any one of us as well. When it comes to regular users, we exchange messages with our loved ones regarding a paradigm of topics. The information which may seem trivial initially can later function as ammunition for a campaign regarding identity theft. 

Basic information like preferred banks, occasional dining places can go a long way in social engineering attacks, further increasing the need for secure messaging habits. 

WhatsApp uses end-to-end encryption to protect all communications and ensure its platform is safe for users interaction without fear of data breach. These encryption keys not only make it impossible to decrypt messages but they also prevent third parties and even WhatsApp from accessing messages or calls, but not entirely.

Although end-to-end encryption makes WhatsApp more secure than other communication apps, no app is 100% safe to use. Like any application or digital device, WhatsApp is often targeted by malicious hackers. It also has access to your contacts and tracks where and how long you use it, putting your privacy and personal information at risk. We all have access to our cell phones, so it's no surprise that SMS two-factor authentication is one of the most widespread types of multifactor authentication methods (MFA) available.

You don't need any apps or digital keys and it's not tied to a specific ecosystem. Unfortunately, it's also not a secure multi-factor authentication method. The nature of SMS itself opens up your organization to a host of risks. Hackers may have many ways to leverage SMS to find a way into your accounts and network. Be it via spoof SIM cards or message hijacking, WhatsApp two-factor using SMS isn't a foolproof solution. 

Ways You Can Secure Your WhatsApp From Hackers 

Now that we understand the variety of reasons why WhatsApp needs extra security, let's go through some of the ways we can achieve this. It is more than probable that one fine day you might receive a WhatsApp message or even an SMS that reads that your order is delayed, please check its data here or your account is locked and please unlock it here or even some tempting messages like win, free 3G and movie tickets here. 

Some of them may sound intimidating and some of them may be lucrative, but they all have one purpose, to trick you into clicking that link and once you do that, it's already over. It will install malware on your phone and you won't have a clue about it. Only when you start noticing that your phone bills are abnormally high or your bank account has been used without your permission, the realization will dawn upon you that something is wrong with your phone, but by then it may be too late. 

WhatsApp in itself provides various privacy options to users. The messaging platform provides users with option to choose who they want to share their profile photo, status and other details with. It's a good idea to change the settings to contacts only. This means only phone numbers that are saved on your smartphone will be able to see your profile photo, status, phone number and auto-delayed status as well.

Make sure you enable the option to lock the screen every time WhatsApp is closed. This will ensure no one else but you can open your WhatsApp account.

Just head to the settings menu, privacy and select the screen lock option. You will then need to register your fingerprint. After the process is completed, you will have to scan your fingerprint every time you open the WhatsApp app. This adds an extra layer of security. 

The 2-step verification works as an extra layer of security and helps WhatsApp users to protect their OTPs and documents shared through WhatsApp. It is very easy to set up a PIN to activate a 2-step verification. Users have to enter it periodically once it is activated. 

WhatsApp will sometimes keep asking users to enter this 6 digit passcode. Users cannot disable this without disabling the 2-step verification feature altogether. In case users do not provide WhatsApp with an email ID and want to disable 2-step verification, then the number will be permitted to re-verify on WhatsApp without the passcode after 7 days. 

However, the users will lose all pending messages upon re-verifying. We often have the tendency to log in to WhatsApp web at the office and then leave the account open on the desktop.

The Sabbath can actually create problems for you. Someone else sitting on the same PC can access all your chats without you even realizing it. It's a good practice to log out from WhatsApp web before leaving the office. It just takes a few seconds to log in again by just scanning the code and you're done. 

All WhatsApp users should ensure that the chats are end-to-end encrypted. To verify that a chat is end-to-end encrypted, open the chat, tap on the name of the contact to open the contact info screen and then tap encryption to view the QR code and a 60-digit number. 

WhatsApp end-to-end encryption ensures that only you and your contact can read the messages that are being exchanged and nobody in between, not even WhatsApp. 

What Should You Do If Your WhatsApp Account Is Hacked 

With the necessary guidelines out of the way, let us go through the recommended course of action, should our WhatsApp accounts be compromised. 

The first and most important thing that you need to do is report the issue to the WhatsApp support team for assistance. Make sure that you reach out to the support team through its help desk and report the hacking attempt. WhatsApp Help Center will take the shortest time to resolve your issue via email or within the app itself.

This will help you to take prompt legal action against the hackers. If you can't access your email, call the support team. In some cases, the support will deactivate your WhatsApp account and request you to reactivate within 30 days if you don't want it to be deleted completely. 

When someone compromises your WhatsApp account, they can now send messages to your contacts stating that the company sent your verification code and gain access to that account. That's why one of the first things you'll want to do is send a message to your friends and family letting them know that you've lost access to your account. This action prevents further exploitation of your account and others. 

Another reason you'll want to let your contacts know you have no access to your WhatsApp account is that they may request money on your behalf from your contacts. They can also phish for personal information. 

From your banking number to your email address, hackers will cleverly attempt to gain as much access to your personal information as possible. WhatsApp Web is an extension of WhatsApp Messenger over the web that facilitates easy synchronization of our smartphone and personal computer. This is the biggest security threat that hackers can easily exploit to get into your personal data over WhatsApp. 

Therefore it is highly recommended that you use this WhatsApp feature of WhatsApp web carefully. Once you notice that your WhatsApp Messenger has been hacked, go to your WhatsApp web and tap or click on the Logout from All Computers option. This will deactivate all the web extensions of your account. 

Under the unfortunate circumstances where the account recovery doesn't seem likely, you can always ask WhatsApp support to delete your account permanently. While far from the ideal solution, it can act as a fail-safe option if you want to protect your personal data at any cost possible. 

You can always open a new account later with the security issues mitigated. 


Here we reach to the end of this post, I hope you learnt something new today. If you have any questions regarding this post please don't hesitate to hit the comment box below, we will be happy to answer your queries. Subscribe to our website and add it to your reading list for more posts like this.

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