WhatsApp is the most popular messaging platform across the world. It has close to two billion active users.
Therefore the medium becomes the prime target of hackers using a wide range of methods to spy on their prospective victims.
Readers must not forget the 2019 WhatsApp snooping controversy where roughly 1,400 users globally were being spied on by the Israeli spyware ‘Pegasus’ on WhatsApp.
WhatsApp also filed a case against the Israeli firm – NSO Group – at a US Federal Court alleging the malicious cyberattacks with the spyware ‘Pegasus’, claiming the firm installed spyware on users’ phones and targeted human rights defenders, journalists, political dissidents, diplomats, and government officials.
In such a hostile cyber environment, WhatsApp users must take extra precautions in order to protect their personal data.
Here are some methods that users can implement to ensure maximum security:
1. Two-step verification:
To enable this security mechanism go to WhatsApp > Settings > Account > Two-step verification > Enable.
WhatsApp will ask people for your six-digit PIN to authenticate that it’s actually you once you have set it up. Never share the thesix-digit PIN with WhatsApp SMS verification code with others, even with ones close to you, WhatsApp said.
2. Switch off cloud backup:
Cloud backup will help you restore your chats if you lost your phone. However, those chats are not protected by end-to-end encryption, and therefore it is advised to turn this feature off.
To do this, go to WhatsApp Settings > Chats > Chat Backup > Auto Backup, and toggle it off.
3. Use Touch ID or Face ID to lock WhatsApp:
On iPhone running on iOS 9 or newer, you can use WhatsApp’s Touch ID or Face ID. To enable this feature, open WhatsApp Settings and Tap Account > Privacy > Screen Lock.
Once enabled, users need to use Touch ID or Face ID to to gain access to the app. However, users can still reply to messages from notifications and answer calls if WhatsApp is locked.
The user can also select the length of time WhatsApp can be on standby mode before the Touch ID or Face ID is required.
4. Turn off read receipts:
To switch off read receipts, open: Settings > Account > Privacy and disable Read Receipts.
However, this feature will not work for group chats or play receipts for voice messages.