WhatsApp is a widely-used messaging app with over 2 billion users that claims to offer end-to-end Encryption. However, there have been hacking and security breaches that have exposed user data and media files. This article will provide information on determining if you are affected by a WhatsApp hack, steps to protect your account, and tips to prevent future hacks.
How to Determine Whether You’re Affected by a WhatsApp Hack
Some signs and symptoms may indicate that your WhatsApp account has been hacked or compromised. Here are some of them:
- You receive an SMS text message with a six-digit WhatsApp code you were not expecting. This may mean that someone is trying to log in to your account on another device and needs the code to verify your identity.
- You receive a WhatsApp message from a friend asking for the six-digit code. This may mean that your friend’s account has been hijacked, and the hacker is using it to trick you into giving them your code.
- You notice unusual activity on your account, such as messages or calls you did not send or make, contacts or groups you did not add or join, or changes in your settings or profile.
- You notice that your account has been logged out or suspended without your knowledge or consent. This may mean that someone has accessed your account and changed your password or deleted your account.
- You notice that your phone battery drains faster than usual, your phone heats up more than usual, or your phone uses more data than usual. This may mean someone has installed spyware on your phone to monitor your WhatsApp activity and other information.
If you notice any of these signs or symptoms, you should take immediate action to secure your account and device.
What Steps to Take If You’re Affected by a WhatsApp Hack
If you suspect that your WhatsApp account has been hacked or compromised, you should follow these steps to protect yourself and your account:
- Do not give anyone your password or SMS security code, even if they appear to be a friend or family member. WhatsApp will never ask you for this information via email, phone, or message.
- Enable two-step verification for your account. This extra layer of security requires you to enter a PIN when you register your phone number with WhatsApp. You can enable two-step verification through Settings > Account > Two-step verification > Enable.
- Change your password for your email account and other online accounts linked to your phone number or WhatsApp account. This will prevent hackers from accessing your other accounts using the same credentials.
- Log out of all devices where you have used WhatsApp Web or Desktop. This will prevent hackers from accessing your account through these platforms. You can log out of all devices by going to Settings > WhatsApp Web/Desktop > Log out from all devices.
- Scan your phone for malware and viruses using a reputable antivirus app. This will help you detect and remove any spyware or malicious software that hackers may have installed on your phone.
- Report any suspicious messages or calls that you receive on WhatsApp to WhatsApp’s support team. This will help them identify and block any hackers or scammers using WhatsApp to target users. You can report messages or calls by tapping on them and selecting Report.
How to Prevent WhatsApp Hacks in the Future
To prevent WhatsApp hacks in the future, you should follow these tips and best practices:
- Update your WhatsApp app regularly. This will ensure you have the latest security patches and bug fixes that protect you from potential vulnerabilities and exploits.
- Use a strong password for your email account and other online accounts linked to your phone number or WhatsApp account. And hide our whatsapp number if you can. This will make it harder for hackers to guess or crack your password using brute force or phishing attacks.
- Do not click on links or download attachments from unknown or suspicious sources on WhatsApp or other platforms. These may contain malware or viruses that can infect your phone and compromise your data.
- Do not join groups or add contacts you do not know or trust on WhatsApp. Hackers or scammers may use these to collect your information or spread malicious content.
- Do not share your personal or sensitive information on WhatsApp or other platforms. This may include your bank details, credit card numbers, passwords, codes, etc. Hackers or scammers may use this information to steal your identity or money.
- Be careful when using public Wi-Fi networks or charging stations. These may be insecure or compromised, allowing hackers to intercept or modify your data. Use a VPN or a secure connection when using these services.
End-to-end Encryption is a security feature that encrypts messages so only the sender and receiver can read them. This means no one else, including WhatsApp, can access or intercept the messages.
You can check if your WhatsApp messages are encrypted by tapping on the contact or group name and then tapping on Encryption. You will see a QR code and a 60-digit number. This is your encryption code. You can compare this code with your contact or group to verify that your messages are encrypted.
Hackers can hack WhatsApp using various methods and techniques, such as exploiting vulnerabilities in WhatsApp’s software or network, sending malicious links or attachments, hijacking accounts or phone numbers, installing spyware or malware, phishing passwords or codes, etc.
You can tell if your WhatsApp account has been hacked by looking for signs and symptoms such as unexpected codes, unusual activity, account logout or suspension, phone issues, etc.
If your WhatsApp account has been hacked, you should take steps to secure your account and device, such as not giving your password or code, enabling two-step verification, changing your password, logging out of all devices, scanning your phone, and reporting suspicious messages or calls.
Two-step verification is an extra layer of security that requires you to enter a PIN when you register your phone number with WhatsApp. You can enable two-step verification through Settings > Account > Two-step verification > Enable.
You can change your password for your email account and other online accounts linked to your phone number or WhatsApp account by logging in to those accounts and going to their security settings. You should use a strong password that is different from your WhatsApp password.
You can log out of all devices where you have used WhatsApp Web or Desktop by going to Settings > WhatsApp Web/Desktop > Log out from all devices.
Using a reputable antivirus app, you can scan your phone for malware and viruses. You can download an antivirus app from the Google Play Store or the App Store and follow the instructions on the app to scan your phone.
You can report suspicious messages or calls on WhatsApp by tapping on them and selecting Report. This will help WhatsApp identify and block any hackers or scammers using WhatsApp to target users.
You can prevent WhatsApp hacks in the future by following tips and best practices such as updating your app, using a strong password, not clicking on links or attachments, not joining groups or adding contacts, not sharing your information, and being careful when using public Wi-Fi or charging stations.
To conclude, while WhatsApp is a popular messaging app that provides Encryption and various features, it is still susceptible to hacking and security breaches that can reveal user data and media files. Users should watch for unusual activity or unexpected codes to determine if they have been hacked. Users should enable two-step verification and change their password to secure an account. To avoid future hacks, users should follow best practices such as using strong passwords, updating the app, and avoiding clicking links or attachments. The conclusion thanks readers and encourages them to provide feedback while hoping that the information provided will help them protect their WhatsApp accounts.