From the first day, WhatsApp application is designed to help you stay in touch with friends, share vital information in case of emergencies, re-connect with separate family members, or you can simply use it to chat because it is free. Some of your favorite moments are shared via WhatsApp. It is clear that this is an application that offers much more than a text message to friends. Thanks to possibility to make calls, share photos and video clips, WhatsApp is suitable for many activities, both of business and private feature. However, like other social applications, due to the large number of users, WhatsApp is suitable for hacker attacks and theft of user data. Here is how can you secure your WhatsApp.
Lock your account
WhatsApp itself does not offer function to lock your account with a password or PIN, but you can find many programs on the Internet that allow this solid type of protection. Made by independent companies, this can be very useful if your phone is found in unwanted hands. Messenger and Chat Block and Lock for WhatsApp are just some of the applications that offer this option which are free, small for downloading and easy to use.
It is now possible to hide status “Last Seen at…” in the settings option of the application itself. In this way, other users will not see that you are online even when you are, and it will be harder for them to “follow” you. It is a small detail that may seem insignificant, so it is no wonder thatWhatsApp let users select whether they want the world to know when they were last active. However, when someone is trying to hack your account, this information could be of a high importance if you were last seen in a few hours, and you will be absent for a long time and hence you would be powerless to protect your account. On the other hand, hide “last active” labels may simply mean the preservation of your privacy on the additional level. Settings for this option can be changed in each version of WhatsApp application.
Visibility of your profile picture
It can happen almost certainly that a profile picture that you have on WhatsApp is linked with the one from a social network, or that it is located on the site of a company. In this case, if your image is publicly available, the hacker can use it, search for you on the Internet through the services of Google’s image search and get into possession of your valuable and personal data. It is therefore advised that the picture is only visible to people you have in your contact list, or shared among the people you know. This option is easy to configure on the application, in all its versions.
When using the application, it is important to know that WhatsApp service will never contact you directly, orsend messages to you through chat, unless you contact them first. This means that you should strictly ignore every message that offers additional options regarding voice messages, calls, payment services, etc. These are con-artists who try to entice users and steal their personal information or send viruses. Hence, it is very important to ignore and delete messages of this type.
Sharing private data and VPN usage
As in actual communication, the use of common sense in sending WhatsApp messages is more than desirable. Therefore, avoid sending personal data such as address, phone number, credit card or e-mail addresses. Such information should not be accessible to anyone, and your closest friends will surely already know this basic information. Therefore, this measure of personal safety is your best protection. What is also recommended is installing a VPN and thus raise the security level higher. The VPN helps to encrypt your internet traffic ensuring that data passing from your device to the end destination cannot be intercepted by 3rd parties, especially when using public Wi-Fi.
Security contents of the message
What intrigues users mostly when it comes to this application is the safety and privacy of the contents of the conversation. This messaging app introduced a complete end to end encryption of all messages that users send. More than a billion users of WhatsApp know that any text messages, videos and pictures are fully protected. It means that no one than the sender and recipient of a message can find its content –not even employees of WhatsApp. This is because your messages are locked, and only the recipient and you have a spatial key required to unlock them to read. As additional protection, each message you send has its own unique lock and key. All of this happens automatically: there is no need to include special settings to send messages. In this way, WhatsApp enhanced security against hackers and criminals who are now unable to get into user profiles. Anyone who wants to activate this feature should only install the latest version and it will be automatically set.
Security and privacy might be the most sensitive topic nowadays, but in such cases, you can use the given tips and enhance your privacy settings. Don’t forget resetting your phone if you want to give it to someone else. Make sure all data are deleted so you wouldn’t have to worry about its availability. This all takes only a few minutes to secure your WhatsApp but it’s worth it. Remember, better safe than sorry.
Thomas lives and works as an Information Security Analyst in Baton Rouge, though his family originates from Italy. He is 28 years old, adores outdoor activities and he spends most of his time working from home in the company of his dog Reggie and his two goldfish. When it comes to humans, his favorite one is his girlfriend, Clara.