There are lots of tools, tips and tricks that you can utilise to help protect yourself from cybercrime, but the unfortunate truth is, if a threat actor is dedicated enough, there is no fool-proof way to defend yourself completely. All we can do is protect ourselves to the upmost of our capabilities… and hope that attackers move on to less well-defended targets.
Here are a few tips to protect your WhatsApp from being compromised:
Firstly, you should turn off previews in your SMS messages. This may sound obvious, but many people desire the convenience of being able to look at messages immediately, without having to unlock their phone. When people use two step verification without an authenticator app, they tend to receive codes sent via SMS - but if these can be viewed on a locked screen, they are somewhat pointless to a user who may leave the phone unattended.
Therefore, secondly, you should never leave your phone or any device unattended. I have witnessed countless people on the train fall asleep with their phone left on the table, or even pop to the toilet and leave it surrounded by strangers. Furthermore, there are many bad apples inside companies, so even if you trust your colleagues, there is always a chance someone else in the business could attempt this attack vector. It’s a point worth repeating: never leave your device alone.
Finally, there is an even better way of protecting your account that needs to be completed right now. WhatsApp created their very own Two Step Verification for the app a few years ago, which is simple to follow and will stop an attack like this from succeeding. Below is the process of how to do it, so open the app and set it up!
How to set up two-step Verification in WhatsApp:
- With the app open, head to Settings/Account/Two Step Verification and click on Enable.
- Next, enter a six-digit code that you won’t forget.
- Then enter your email address as an extra failsafe.
- Finally, you will see confirmation of two step verification set up on your phone, so it will be far more difficult for someone to be able to hijack your account or transfer your messages to another device.
You’ll now be asked for the PIN at random times when you open WhatsApp. It isn’t every time you open it, and therefore shouldn’t become an inconvenience. It will, however, make you better protected to enjoy the wonderful features of WhatsApp in a safer environment.