11 Jun 2019
#TechBytes: 5 handy ways to make WhatsApp more secure
With the introduction of WhatsApp, we all got an ideal alternative for text messaging.
The platform offers a range of features and is used by more than a billion users, meaning you can use it to connect with almost anybody.
However, just like all web-based services, even WhatsApp faces the risk of hacking or phishing.
Here's how you can prevent that.
Enable two-step verification
WhatsApp login depends on SMS or call-based verification.
However, we've seen hackers using different techniques (like voicemail hijacking) to steal the verification code.
Now, this issue can only be avoided by enabling two-factor authentication and setting a six-digit PIN.
It would act as an additional line of security and can be enabled by heading over to Menu > Settings > Account > Two-step verification.
Enable biometric security to keep chats hidden
Many sneaky attackers could get their hands on your phone and try to snoop on your WhatsApp to read, even steal, your private chats.
As you won't even see this attack coming, it's important to turn on biometric lock.
Be careful on WhatsApp Web
WhatsApp Web lets you read and reply to messages without touching your smartphone.
The feature comes handy but can also be misused, especially in the case of shared systems.
Basically, a third-party using the same PC could open WhatsApp Web and get easy access to all your messages.
So, use the feature carefully and log out of all sessions, whenever necessary.
Stay away from scams or fancy versions of WhatsApp
No matter how many settings you tweak to make WhatsApp secure, the risk of scams always remains.
People can fool you into giving away your details or push malware to your phone by claiming to offer something like WhatsApp's premium 'Gold' version.
So, watch out for strange messages offering lucrative deals and block their senders; also look for the 'forwarded' badge to verify authenticity.
Finally, restrict profile image access
On WhatsApp, anyone with your contact can see your account and send direct messages.
The feature is useful, but in some cases, hijackers could use numbers accessed from different sources to identify potential targets.
They could use your profile picture to know more about you, but this can be avoided by changing photo access to contacts from Settings > Account > Privacy >Profile Photo.
Also, keep an eye on security codes
As an additional step, while chatting, make sure that the security code for the chat matches with that of the other person. This is a sign of end-to-end encryption and can be verified by opening contact info in chat and selecting "Encryption".