Follow These 5 Rules to Save Your WhatsApp Chats From Hackers

WhatsApp has been in the news lately regarding user security on its platform.

Published
Tech News
3 min read

Cameraperson: Abhishek Ranjan
Video Editor:
Rahul Sanpui

WhatsApp touts to be one of the most secure messaging platforms in the world, thanks to its end-to-end encryption technology. However, the latest events involving chats of celebrities landing up in the hands of news channels have left people questioning the security of the platform.

Little do people know that WhatsApp as a messaging app offers its users some security features that they can deploy to secure their account. Not only that, there are certain rules that WhatsApp users need to follow to make sure their chats don’t fall into the wrong hands.

So, here are some ways you can keep your WhatsApp account and chats safe from hackers.

Disable Cloud Backup

You might be done sending messages at the end of the day but it’s at night that WhatsApp is the most active as it’s backing up all the chats to your cloud storage.

Now, the reason this happens is that if you ever uninstall WhatsApp or you’re using it one new phone, you can recover all your chats and media via that cloud backup by following a few simple steps.

Yes, messages on WhatsApp are encrypted but whatever is being uploaded on the cloud isn’t. So, if a hacker were to gain access to that backup, they can easily clone your WhatsApp chats backup on another device and then read all your messages.

So, if you’re paranoid about your chats falling into the wrong hands, disable the automatic cloud backup option by going to WhatsApp Settings > Chats > Chat Backup > select the Back up to Google Drive option and select Never.

It’s important you know that if you stop the cloud backup and you uninstall WhatsApp, then while reinstalling you won’t be able to recover your older messages. Yeah, that’s the price you must pay.

Manually Check Encryption

WhatsApp says it's end-to-end encrypted but you can be doubly sure about the encryption by checking it manually. You can do so by going to the person’s chat and tapping on the name.

Then tap on Encryption. You see a unique code pop up. This is your security code. It’s like your identity for WhatsApp and you can share it with the other person via email or another messenger. You can also scan the code to verify or ask the contact whether they have the same 40-digits at their end.

Two-Step Verification

Two-step verification ensures that whenever you try to activate your WhatsApp account on another device you must enter a six-digit code that you and only you should know.

This way, even if some hacker gets a hold of your number or your WhatsApp account, they cannot use your WhatsApp to message other people as you both will be logged out of WhatsApp and you’ll have to enter that six-digit code to activate WhatsApp.

To activate Two-Step Verification go to Menu > Settings > Account > Two-step verification > Enable.

Enter your six-digit PIN and voila! Importantly, add your email address to retrieve that code in case you forget it. And don’t be a dimwit and go telling you six-digit code to people. That’s exactly how your WhatsApp account gets hacked.

Activate Fingerprint/Face ID Security

WhatsApp also gives users the option to lock WhatsApp with fingerprint or Face ID for iPhone. Android users can go to WhatsApp’s Settings > Accounts > Privacy and then right at the end there is Fingerprint Unlock.

Activate that option and you can choose exactly after how long you want your WhatsApp locked. Similarly, Apple users must enable the Face ID unlock option on WhatsApp by following the same steps.

So, even if your smartphone falls into the wrong hands, don’t worry.

Don’t Fall for Scams

The last and perhaps the most important rule: Do not go around clicking random links that people forward you on WhatsApp groups. These can be spyware that can be used to steal information from your phone. Also, don’t download random files that drop into your inbox from random numbers.

You can also make WhatsApp safer for yourself by disabling the option for random people to add you to groups without your permission.

To do that, go to Settings > Account > Privacy > Groups, and then tap on My Contacts.

So now that you know these rules, make sure that you follow them religiously. Because it's better being careful now, than becoming the headlines of tomorrow's news.

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