WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging apps in India, with more than 450 million monthly active users on its Android and iOS platforms.
The app has yet again been sucked into another controversy. Recently, the WhatsApp chat of a TV news anchor in India, Arnab Goswami, got leaked on the web. A similar incident happened back in October 2020 when an Indian TV news anchor got its hands on a leaked WhatsApp chat of a famous personality.
These back-to-back WhatsApp chat leaks have got users worrying and asking themselves — Are their WhatsApp chats secure? If not, then how to secure WhatsApp chat? So here’s how you can keep WhatsApp chat hack proof.
Avoid backing up your WhatsApp chats or delete chat backups if you have any.
All WhatsApp messages are end-to-end encrypted. Forget about others; even WhatsApp itself has no way of accessing your chats. However, note that WhatsApp chat backups stored in Google Drive or Apple iCloud are not end-to-end encrypted.
Apple and Google could be subpoenaed by Indian authorities to hand over chat backups. Not long after, these chats can be leaked on the Internet like Arnab Goswami’s WhatsApp chat leaks.
WhatsApp Chat backups are also susceptible to being misused. In the case of phone theft, one can restore WhatsApp chats by removing the SIM from the stolen phone and putting it in a secondary phone.
You can stop the perpetrator from restoring WhatsApp chats on his phone by enabling two-step verification. Once enabled, a six-digit PIN must be entered to register the phone number again. Ensure that the six-digit verification PIN is not shared with anyone; be it your friends or family.
Hackers often try phishing schemes to retrieve the verification PIN, but you can keep your WhatsApp chat hack proof if you don’t share the PIN with anyone except your dog.
What if the recipient rats you out and shows your private messages to a person without your knowledge?
So, another way to keep your WhatsApp chats hack proof is by enabling disappearing messages. Once enabled, messages sent to an individual will automatically disappear within seven days.
Also, make a habit of deleting your messages frequently. If you are well aware that the message you are about to send is extremely sensitive, make sure to “Delete for everyone.”
If Delete for everyone is not available, at least delete WhatsApp chats frequently from your end so that they cannot be accessed easily.
You can use your smartphone’s fingerprint lock or FaceID to lock the WhatsApp app.
However, note that locking the WhatsApp app is not completely secure. A hacker may try and even succeed in bypassing the smartphone screen lock.
On the other hand, you might be forced to unlock the smartphone or give away your screen lock password. Still, under normal circumstances, the WhatsApp app lock is a great way to keep WhatsApp chats hack proof.
WhatsApp may use end-to-end encryption for its chats but still collects metadata from users, including your location details, ISP details, device ID, etc., which can be used to track you. On the other hand, the only real information Signal collects from users is their phone number.
The downside to using Signal is that the messaging app is not as popular as WhatsApp. Chances are most of your friends and relatives may not have joined the Signal app.
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