You will also find out steps you can take to reduce the chances of your WhatsApp account getting hacked.
With this short post I will talk about how hackers attempt to get access into peoples WhatsApp accounts and some steps you can take to reduce the chances that your WhatsApp account get’s hacked.
Two ways hackers target WhatsApp accounts
1. Registering your number on another device.
Imagine you get a WhatsApp message from a trusted friend saying they have a problem with their WhatsApp account and they have asked WhatsApp to send you a security code on their behalf, what will you do or think?
99% of the time, the situation here is that your friend’s WhatsApp account has been hacked and the hacker is trying to hack your account too. This is process is called social engineering or social hacking and it involves trying to trick someone (in this case you), into giving another person his/her WhatsApp security code.
The way this is carried out is that a hacker get’s your WhatsApp number either from a WhatsApp group or from the contact list of another WhatsApp account that has already been hacked, and then tries to register it on another device (a phone or tablet). During the registration process, WhatsApp will send a verification code through SMS to your WhatsApp number. The hacker then attempts to get this code through whatever means possible, e.g. By calling the owner of the account pretending they need their help.
2. Sending malicious links
It is a common security advice that we should not click on random links or links you are not sure of. But unfortunately, a lot of people still do this. Malicious links are links that contain codes that can do some damage to a device. It could contain a virus, a worm, a spyware, etc.
So just like the process stated above, a hacker obtains your WhatsApp number and sends you a link to click on. It could be a basic link, or a picture, or a video. Once you click on this link, something happens and boom, your WhatsApp account is hacked or worst case scenario, your entire phone is hacked. This is a more sophisticated attack, but it does happen a lot.
The tricky part here is if this link is coming from trusted friend, because most times we don’t hesitate to click on links sent to us by a friend. I personally do not click on random links even if it is coming from my friends, and my friends know that. It has caused some quarrels between I and my friends in the past, but then it for the good of all of us.
This are the two major ways WhatsApp accounts are getting hacked today.
So, how do you protect yourself from being a victim of a whatsapp account hack?
Here are some steps you can take.
- Never send a 6 digit SMS code to anyone for any reason.
When activating your WhatsApp account or login into a new device, WhatsApp sends you a 6 digit code. It is this code that eventually gives you access to your WhatsApp account. And on the flip side, it can also give a hacker access to your WhatsApp account.
So under no circumstances should you send that code to anybody.
- Don’t click on any random or suspicious links
As I said earlier, this is a very common and basic internet security tip which many still do not observe. If you avoid clicking on random or suspicious links, you reduce the chances of your WhatsApp account getting hacked. This also applies to your internet activities generally
I read somewhere that WhatsApp is working on a suspicious link detection feature, but until that arrives, avoid clicking randomly.
- Setup Two-step verification
WhatsApp has a feature that allows you set a PIN for your WhatsApp account – they call it Two-step verification. WhatsApp will ask for this PIN anytime you are setting up WhatsApp on a new device. They will also ask for it randomly as you continue to use the app. The good thing is even if a hacker manages to get your SMS verification code, they will still need your WhatsApp PIN before they can access your WhatsApp account.
You also have the option to enter your email address so you can reset your PIN if you forget it. But you should really use a PIN you will not forget.
To set up your WhatsApp PIN (two-step verification) follow this steps
- Open WhatsApp
- Click the three dots (options button) at the top right corner
- Open settings
- Open accounts
- Click Two-step verification
- Click enable
- Enter your six digit code. *make sure it is something you will not forget*
- Confirm the code
- Enter a valid email address
- Confirm your email address
- And you are done
From time to time, WhatsApp will request for this PIN just to ensure your account is still safe and secure
So there you have it, a few things you can do to keep your WhatsApp account safe. Although, There is no such thing as total security, after all if the WhatsApp account of the richest man in the world can be hacked, then anything is possible. But if the above steps and tips are applied, the chances of you falling victim and your WhatsApp account getting hacked will be greatly reduced.