How to More Secure My WhatsApp 8 Tips

WhatsApp is among the best instant messengers out there, and if you are using it, there are some steps you should take to protect your security and privacy. This is above and beyond WhatsApp’s built-in end-to-end encryption, enabled by default.

The encryption ensures that your messages can only be read on the recipient’s phone. It’s the same for voice calls and video calls, both of which are encrypted. However, here are key tips to help improve your WhatsApp privacy and security.

1. Enable Disappearing Messages for Sensitive Conversations

Even though WhatsApp encrypts all chats by default, sometimes you also want to be sure that there’s no copy of your conversation in the future. This helps ensure that even if your device or the recipient’s device falls into bad hands, you can be certain that none of your secret conversations can be seen.

WhatsApp’s disappearing messages feature ensures that exchanged messages are automatically deleted for everyone after a specific period.

To activate Disappearing messages in a given chat, tap the contact’s name at the top and select Disappearing messages. Next, choose a period after which a message will be deleted

2. Turn On Security Code Change Notifications

On WhatsApp, you can verify whether your chats are end-to-end encrypted using security codes. In the contact info screen, you can view these codes as a QR code or a 60-digit number.

When a new phone or laptop accesses an existing chat, a new security code is generated for both phones. And WhatsApp can send a notification when the security code changes. This way, you can check the encryption with your friend over a different messenger, ensuring its security.

To turn on security code change notifications, go to WhatsApp > Settings > Account > Security > Show security notifications and flip the toggle to green.

On Android, tap Settings > Account > Security Notifications and toggle on Show Security Notifications on This Phone.

3. Enable Two-Step Verification

If a service supports it, you should be using two-factor authentication (2FA). This adds a periodic passcode to WhatsApp, bolstering security by ensuring your data isn’t accessed by someone else. You can enable 2FA on WhatsApp, across all supported platforms.

With 2FA, WhatsApp allows you to create a six-digit PIN code that you can easily remember. Importantly, add your email address to retrieve that code in case you forget it. To reduce the chances of forgetting your code, WhatsApp has random, periodic checks for the passcode prompting you to enter it when you open the app. But that’s not 2FA’s purpose, anyway.

The purpose is to stop someone else from accessing your WhatsApp account without your consent, even if they have access to your number, like in SIM swap scams.

4. Lock WhatsApp With Fingerprint or Face Verification

Another cool feature to improve the privacy of your WhatsApp messages is to lock the app with your fingerprint or face. This ensures that only you can access WhatsApp even if you give someone else your device without a screenlock.

The only catch is this feature is only available on phones with facial or fingerprint verification. As such, there’s no way to lock your WhatsApp app with a password. You’ll have to use a third-party locking app if that’s what you want.

On Android, you can lock your WhatsApp app by hitting the three-dot menu in the top right, selecting Settings > Privacy > Fingerprint lock, then toggling Unlock with fingerprint. You’ll then be asked to add a fingerprint, and then you can select the standby time before WhatsApp is automatically locked.

On iOS, go to Settings > Privacy > Screen Lock and toggle on Require Touch ID or Require Face ID. Finally, select the time standby time before WhatsApp automatically locks.

5. Encrypt Cloud Backups

The end-to-end encryption is awesome, but there’s one loophole: WhatsApp backs up chats to Google Drive or iCloud. That way, if you reinstall it later, you can retrieve your old messages. But this backup isn’t encrypted by default.

So if you really care about your privacy, you must enable end-to-end encryption for your WhatsApp backups. Remember, storing your data with Apple and Google might not protect you against eavesdropping by governments.

On Android, tap the three-dot menu in the top right and select Settings > Chats > Chat backup > End-to-end encrypted backup > Turn on. You can do the same on iPhone by going to Settings > Chats > Chat Backup > End-to-end encrypted backup > Turn on.

On the next page, select one of the two methods (password or encryption key) that you prefer and finish the setup by following the guidance.

6. Beware of Common Scams

Since it’s an instant messenger, you might get some scams on WhatsApp periodically. You need to know some of the popular ones and not fall for them. Socially engineered attacks are one way your WhatsApp

The most persistent ones talk about a premium version of WhatsApp, “WhatsApp Gold,” or your account expiring. No matter how it’s worded, the scam is about making you pay for WhatsApp. It shouldn’t need to be said, but don’t ever pay money for WhatsApp. The company has made it clear that WhatsApp will forever be free.

Read up on the most common WhatsApp scams and how to recognize and avoid WhatsApp spam, so you know what to avoid.

7. Get the Official WhatsApp Desktop Apps

To use WhatsApp on your computer, you need to link your phone with WhatsApp Web or the WhatsApp desktop apps. To be on the safe side, get the official desktop app. Unlike Android and iOS, where app stores are tightly regulated, the wider internet is less regulated.

You, therefore, might be tricked into accessing malicious websites masquerading as WhatsApp Web. There have also been some instances in the past of hackers creating malicious software that is advertised as WhatsApp desktop apps. These are two of the common WhatsApp security threats you should beware of.

To avoid such cases, use WhatsApp’s official desktop clients. Sure, there could be better options than the official WhatsApp desktop client, but don’t trade in security for a few extra features.

To use WhatsApp on your computer, you need to link your phone with WhatsApp Web or the WhatsApp desktop apps. To be on the safe side, get the official desktop app. Unlike Android and iOS, where app stores are tightly regulated, the wider internet is less regulated.

You, therefore, might be tricked into accessing malicious websites masquerading as WhatsApp Web. There have also been some instances in the past of hackers creating malicious software that is advertised as WhatsApp desktop apps. These are two of the common WhatsApp security threats you should beware of.

To avoid such cases, use WhatsApp’s official desktop clients. Sure, there could be better options than the official WhatsApp desktop client, but don’t trade in security for a few extra features.

Improve Your Privacy and Security on WhatsApp

Even with all these features, you should know that WhatsApp isn’t completely secure. There are other more secure communication apps you can try instead. But for 99 percent of regular users, WhatsApp’s security protocols should be good enough.

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