WhatsApp with 2 Billion users across the world is the frontrunner in connecting us with our family, friends, and most importantly work, but equally important concern is how to keep WhatsApp chats secured. From group chats to video calls to voice messages and instant media file-sharing, WhatsApp has eased many tasks for its users.
In this global pandemic, the role of online media and platform has become an absolute necessity; a way of life in quarantine.
WhatsApp created a new revolution in communication
WhatsApp, the private messaging service that Facebook bought in 2014 for $19 billion, is incredibly popular in India. More than 200 million people use the app every month in India, in part. Because WhatsApp is simple user- friendly and reliable to use. where internet connectivity is weak.
WhatsApp also ensures an end to end encryption for every single chat. Which , Means even WhatsApp cannot read, for example; the thousands of good morning messages you and your family send each other.
However, in the light of recent prime-time coverage of a celebrity’s WhatsApp chats. One may wonder how those WhatsApp chats were leaked.
How were they able to access the encrypted chats?
While WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption sounds good, it doesn’t guarantee a 100 percent security. The uncomfortable truth is that end-to-end encryption sounds swell. But if anyone can get into your phone’s operating system (iOS, Android) they’ll be able to read your messages effortlessly without having to decrypt them.
This is what happened in 2019, the infamous Pegasus cyberattack was a wake-up call for the WhatsApp users. Pegasus is versatile spyware when installed on a target’s device can control servers and steal information like passwords, contacts, text messages, and track your GPS location too.
Pegasus used a vulnerability in the WhatsApp VoIP stack which is used for audio and video calls. Just a missed call on WhatsApp allowed Pegasus to not only snoop but gain access to the device.
Around 1,400 WhatsApp users were affected by the cyberattack confirmed by a WhatsApp spokesperson to Gadgets360. Meanwhile, the government has sought a response from WhatsApp over the hacking of Indian citizens.
It is to be noted that the law and the government can access WhatsApp chats if in case of any illegal activity; What can we do to keep our WhatsApp chats secured?
- They can read your messages if they have physical access to your phone.
- a search warrant to WhatsApp requesting the disclosure could be done.
- Should governments succeed in forcing tech companies to create backdoors to their encrypted apps; all your data and messages will be available to government agencies.
In parliament the data privacy law has been pending. But it is a poor draft. And so even if it is passed, it won’t do much to safeguard the privacy of citizens. It is oriented towards enabling the government to access your data without much trouble.
But rest assured we’ve got you covered, here are seven ways to keep your WhatsApp chat secured:-
- Keep a passcode for your phone as well as your WhatsApp.
Even if someone has stolen your phone or using your phone. keeping separate passcodes for your phone and WhatsApp ensures they will not be able to access your data, plus it adds an extra layer of protection.
- Keep your phones updated to the latest software.
Hackers often target the oldest versions because it is easier to find loopholes. There so make sure to install the latest version of your phone software.
- Turn off the Auto-Download feature.
There are chances where you can get a photo message from an unknown number. It might contain a virus that can be automatically downloaded along with the photo into your phone. To turn off Auto-Download:- Go to settings > Data and storage usage >Media auto-download.
- Keep your WhatsApp updated.
Again it’s easier to look for loopholes in the older versions of any app. Also, avoid granting permission to the app for accessing your photos or contacts, it’s not always necessary. Don’t allow permission to third-party apps for accessing WhatsApp either.
- Turn on the two-factor-authentication.
This ensures that whenever you register with your phone number on WhatsApp, to do this again a six-digit pin would be required. WhatsApp will send as an SMS on your phone number and ensure that the correct phone is being used to use WhatsApp and that no one else is using your WhatsApp.
- Disable chat backup.
Your chats are saved into your iCloud or Google drive on a weekly/monthly basis. It often acts as a loophole if someone wants your data, they can clone your phone and access your chats through your backup stored in your iCloud or Google Drive.
- Use a VPN.
VPN or ‘Virtual Private Network’ gives you online privacy and anonymity by creating a private network from a public internet connection. VPNs use the internet protocol (IP) address which make actions untraceable. So, when you use a VPN, whatever activity you do on the internet is encrypted to such an extent that you can even spoof your location as you can pretend to access the internet from another country.
- Review your privacy settings
Check who can view your status, profile photo, live location, and about section monthly. Also, you can turn off read receipts and control who can add you to groups. Go to “Settings>Account>Privacy to change these settings.
- Use WhatsApp Desktop instead of the web.
When using WhatsApp on your computer or Laptop, Try using the Desktop version instead of the web since it’s is easier to manipulate for hacking. If you are using WhatsApp web make sure to log out.
- Turn on security notification by Whatsapp
Open WhatsApp Settings. Tap Account > Security. You can enable security notifications by tapping the option called Show Security Notifications.
You can follow these simple steps and keep your WhatsApp chats secured for more security from hacking.