In January 2017, the media reported that outsiders could read WhatsApp messages, despite using end-to-end encryption. This method allows you to encrypt and decrypt messages immediately on your phone. For encryption, a key is used, which must be different for each interlocutor.
But, as Tobias Bölter, a researcher at the University of California at Berkeley, found out, it is because of the encryption key that you can access the correspondence. The application might have changed the encryption key.
Despite this episode, the popularity of the messenger has not decreased at all – it continues to be used by millions of people around the planet. Many of them will answer the question “Is WhatsApp safe” without hesitation that the security in WhatsApp is up to the mark.
As you know, even the most advanced data protection system cannot provide absolute security. Of course, the security of WhatsApp correspondence is provided by end-to-end encryption, but a lot depends on the user himself. By following simple cybersecurity rules, the threat of confrontation with intruders and personal data leakage is reduced to a minimum.
How do I secure my WhatsApp messaging?
Let’s start with the privacy settings. You can open information about the time spent in the application, profile photo, information, status and geodata for all users of the messenger, for your contacts, or hide them completely. Regardless of the settings you choose, try not to post important information in your status or profile photo that could help attackers determine your location or habits.
In the application settings in the “Security” section, you can enable notifications about changing the encryption key for interlocutors. We talked about this function at the very beginning of the article.
You can also enable two-step verification using a PIN. Of course, don’t share this code with anyone. In the “Request a report” section, you can ask the application to send you a report about your account information and settings. At the same time, it will not contain messages from correspondence. The report is prepared in about 3 days.
In the application, you can use two more important functions: changing the number and deleting the account. Changing the number will reset all account settings. “If you have changed both your phone number and your number, first change your number on your old phone,” it is recommended in the descriptions of the settings.
When deleted, the following will be deleted: account in the messenger, message history and automatic deletion from all WhatsApp groups.
The messenger encrypts all calls made through it, and also notifies the user whether the encryption settings are used in those groups in which he is a member.
For authorization in the version for computers, you need a phone with an already running application. It turns out that the user just needs to keep the phone out of the hands of strangers, check notifications, and, of course, comply with cybersecurity rules.
Hacking groups or professional hackers are rarely interested in someone else’s WhatsApp correspondence, but for amateurs or those who wish evil, this is an interesting enough goal.
How to protect your phone from potential threats?
Do not download unfamiliar files: they may contain viruses that can eavesdrop on your calls, read messages and intercept security codes. Even when downloading files from familiar interlocutors, be careful: configure the application to download photos and video files only after clicking on them. The application also allows you to make backup copies of data using your Google account: just choose the convenient frequency of creating a copy.
Also, experts from Bitdefender, a developer of antivirus solutions for home and business, recommend installing antivirus programs on all devices where the messenger or its analogs is launched and used. Bitdefender antiviruses effectively protect devices and personal data from all types of threats, while completely not affecting the operation of your computer or phone.