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06 Oct 2018

Beware! Hackers can access your WhatsApp account using this trick

Scary WhatsApp hack taking over accounts

Israel's cybersecurity agency has issued a countrywide alert warning people of a scary WhatsApp hack, one that revolves around voicemail security.

Found nearly a year ago, the hack is more of a trick that gives unauthorized WhatsApp access to a hijacker. It has already been used to trigger a wave of hacking incidents in the Middle Eastern country.

Here are the details.

In context

Scary WhatsApp hack taking over accounts
Unauthorized voicemail access is the key

Voicemail access

Unauthorized voicemail access is the key

The hackers, as the agency warned, are gaining WhatsApp access by using voicemail accounts of the targeted users.

Voicemail accounts are pin-protected, but in most cases, people do not change their default pin (either 0000 or 1234), giving hackers a window to attack.

They can remotely access the voicemail at night (or when the real-user is away) and can ultimately hack WhatsApp.

Hack explained

But, how WhatsApp can be compromised with voicemail?

Logging into WhatsApp (on a new device) requires phone number verification, where the service sends a security code to the number.

Normally, this should warn the real user of a potential attack, but if they're asleep or away, the code won't raise any alarms.

Following some text alerts, the service delivers the code via call, which, if not answered, would go straight to voicemail.

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Final blow after code access

Final blow

Final blow after code access

Once the call lands in voicemail, the hacker can easily get the verification code and follow the next steps to login into WhatsApp on their device.

Next, as you imagine, they can not just read your messages or download already sent media, but can also enable two-step verification to make sure you cannot get back to your WhatsApp account.

Preventive measures

How to prevent such attacks?

The best way out, as the agency warning noted, is to change the PIN for voicemail accounts, immediately.

Not to mention, users should make sure that two-step verification is already enabled on their WhatsApp account.

This way, WhatsApp would seek a 6-digit PIN on every new login, keeping potential hackers at bay.

Ask NewsBytes
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My WhatsApp account has been hacked and the hacker has changed the two-step verification code of my account. How can I get access to my WhatsApp account again?

Asked on 06-10-2018 by Kushal Nayak

Answered by NewsBytes

If the hacker has changed the two-step verification code of your WhatsApp account, it means he/she has changed the phone number linked with WhatsApp also. What you can do now is block the SIM and contact WhatsApp support team by someone else's account and report your issue.

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