WhatsApp has more than a billion monthly active users, making it the most popular instant messaging app on the planet.
However, this popularity also comes with quite a good number of security concerns.
Billions of messages are exchanged through WhatsApp on a daily basis and some of these messages contain sensitive and personal information. This means that if someone was to access your phone or WhatsApp for that matter, they’ll have details of nearly all secrets you’ve kept via the app. So, to avoid any of these, here are the top 5 tips and tricks you can use to step up the security of your conversations on the Facebook-owned app.
Beware of scams
Not everyone that uses WhatsApp is tech savvy. Still, you don’t need rocket science in order to identify a scam on WhatsApp. For starters, note that all updates that bring new features to the app are commissioned via the Google Play Store or iTunes App Store. Don’t fall for any of those messages that promise new features or even access to premium services like Netflix for free. Avoid opening unknown links that claim to offer goodies if you share the link with more of your friends.
The bottom line here is that don’t fall for any of these messages. In case you have any doubts, a simple Google search can help you a lot.
Enable 2-step verification
A while back, WhatsApp introduced the famous 2-step verification process that is meant to beef up the security of the app when activating your account. What it essentially does is add an extra security layer on the top of the usual by allowing users to create a six digit pin code that is quite easy to remember. It’s also possible to add an email address that will be used to reset the code just in case you forget it.
Once enabled, you’ll continually see locks that can only be deactivated after the PIN is entered. This means that if someone steals your phone, it won’t be possible to get into your WhatsApp chats.
To enable 2-step verification, launch WhatsApp and go to Settings>Account>Two-step verification>Activate and that’s it!
Disable cloud backup
WhatsApp has what it calls end-to-end encryption, a security system that ensures no one else can come in between two people chatting via the app without permission of either party. This feature also means that you can rest assured that no agency, including the government, is snooping on your chats. However, end-to-end encryption is nowhere near the cloud backups the app creates on a daily basis.
Even though it’s cool that you can still retrieve your messages after formatting your phone, if someone were to hack into your cloud storage, all of your messages will be at their disposal. The backed up messages are not encrypted, which will make it even easier for them.
To opt out of these backups, go to Settings>Chats>Backup and choose “Never” to disable automatic backups. Keep in mind that once you make this choice, there won’t be backups to turn to in case you format or lose your phone.
Stick to using the official WhatsApp
There are a good number of unofficial versions of WhatsApp that offer really cool features. In fact, WhatsApp has been borrowing some of these features on a constant basis, which makes them even more attractive. Unlike the official version, none of these unofficial versions can guarantee 100% security and privacy.
So, rather than enjoy a myriad of features, you’d be better off knowing that your chats are safe and secure.
Make use of WhatsApp privacy settings
In the Settings of WhatsApp you’ll find a Privacy section, which comes under Account option. Here, you can play around with several settings and end up with an even more secure app. You can hide your profile picture from certain people, keep your last seen status to yourself.
To make changes to your privacy settings, go to Settings>Account>Privacy and that’s it!