If you are wondering if your WhatsApp account is safe, don’t worry, you are not the only one. A lot of people share the uncertainty of using the service as their main communication service for fear of being spied or because someone might gain access to it.
Let’s clear the air about the purpose of this article. You probably landed here because you have concerns, and we are going to do our best to address them. This is not a hacker’s guide. This is a collection of relevant tips, and useful information about WhatsApp gathered from different blog and forums around the web.
Since some websites shares tutorials how to hack WhatsApp account, like this guide from Wiper’s blog, on the other hand, some like us wants to protect internet users from these dangerous actions.
Think about WhatsApp the way you think about other apps such as Facebook, Instagram or your personal e-mail. All of these services are vulnerable at some level. While it’s pretty easy to figure out if our FB, IG or e-mail has been tampered with, taking notice with WhatsApp is a bit trickier.
A lot of WhatsApp users don’t realize they have been hacked after a long time. The attackers use very diverse methods to gain access to our accounts such as fake names generators or the alias of known contacts. The sooner we realize how vulnerable is WhatsApp, the easier we’ll be able to protect ourselves.
As worrisome as this might sound, this is not an issue that the company is merely letting slide. WhatsApp it’s making their best effort to implement the best security measures to place a lot of obstacles in the road for hackers, to keep the accounts of users protected. These layers of code are meant to discourage attackers who deem unworthy the loss of time to hack the platform.
The core of the problem these days resides on the side of users since the biggest risk of getting their accounts hacked it’s on their end. Most hacks of WhatsApp accounts happen when the attackers have access to their smartphones or tablets.
Don’t sweat it though; there are ways to check if your account has been hacked and ways to fix it. Take a set and read this guide to understand the problem you are facing and the steps you can take to deal with it on your own. Have some patience; it helps fix any issues you might find quicker.
How to Recognize if My WhatsApp Account Has Been Hacked?
Before we begin, let’s offer some disclosure. The tips we mention here are meant to guide you, by no means are the final indicative on the source of the problem at all, so keep that in mind. If you don’t feel qualified enough to deal with a hacked WhatsApp account, take your equipment to a technician to fix the problem.
1. High-Temperatures on Your Smart Device
If your smartphone or tablets experiences a sudden increase of temperature enough to feel warm to the touch, this may be an indicator that you have a background app running on your device that you don’t know of. This is one the oldest trick in the book, and it happens after spyware programs are installed in your device.
2. Quick Battery Consumption
The average time of consumption of a smartphone battery is a full day on stand by and four to six hours when used at full capacity. If your smart device gets drained in less time than those two indicatives we have mentioned, even if they are not connected to a network, there is a high chance of spyware or malware being installed on it.
How Hackers Can Break Into a WhatsApp Account?
1. When you Use WhatsApp Web
A standalone connection of WhatsApp is very secure. But a lot of people link the app from their devices to the web version of the app. This is a double-edged sword since this link is truly vulnerable. The connection is built on basic notions of wireless data traffic, and you need to scan a QR code to use WhatsApp web. The code can be scanned by any smartphone pretty easy and from a distance.
Once they get a hold of the QR code, the sky is the limit for them. If you use the app in a public place, you increase the risk to 100%. The attacker will be able to scan the code and use WhatsApp web on a different computer until you properly log off of the app and sing up again. It doesn’t matter how quickly this takes; sometime the attacker only needs minutes to compromise the account.
2. They Get Access to the Backup File of your Device
This is one of the most intrusive means of access to WhatsApp accounts since it can work even if you have logged off the service. It will work easier if your WhatsApp app has not been updated in a long time.
This type of hack is often used when someone wants to have access to your account to read something in specific. Is also used by the attacker if he wants to delete your backup file or replicate it to be sent using Bluetooth.
The hacker can also use auto-backup apps to get a quick file on a plain text that can be sent directly to any e-mail account. These type of apps usually run in the background as you use your smart device and they work on a schedule.
If the person spying on you is a close one they can easily install and uninstall these apps without you noticing.
3. They Use a WhatsApp Sniffer to Catch the Signal of Wi-Fi Network
One of the most vulnerable means of access to your WhatsApp account if the ability your smart device has to connect instantly to Wi-Fi networks. All smartphones and tablets use a MAC address to link the device with the Wi-Fi signal. If you happen to use your device on a public space, there is a high possibility that someone is using a WhatsApp sniffer to get access to any accounts that use these networks.
4. They Use Third-Party Spyware
The internet is full of developers claiming to have the ultimate means of access to WhatsApp accounts. A lot of them are full of air, or they are just a way to introduce malware on other computers and smart devices. But others are offering the real deal for the right price such various spying applications or keyloggers, which we explained how they function in one of our earlier post.
Now, let’s take a look at the solutions.
How to Fix Hacked WhatsApp Account?
1. Stop Using WhatsApp Web
We don’t mean it in the literal sense of the world, but if you must use the app on open space and you feel suspicious about the environment. Log off the service on the computer you are using and take a moment to follow this protocol we describe in the following lines to make sure that no one is poking their nose in your WhatsApp conversations.
2. Open WhatsApp on your smart device
- Locate the three vertical dots on the top corner on the right and tap them
- Now tap the WhatsApp web option, and a new window will open
- You will be able to see the list of last devices used to log in your account if you don’t recognize one of them, there is a high chance that someone has gained access to your login information
You can stop this instantly by tapping on the option to log out of all devices. This will put a dead stop to the hacker from reading your conversations. Be mindful in the future if you need to log on the app again in the future and double check on this option after you are done.
3. Close Down All Your Apps
The people working at Learning Ocean have discovered that hackers can use hidden apps to get a backup copy of all messages on all your WhatsApp chats on plain text files that are delivered after being collected to a different e-mail address than the one storing the original backup file.
This is truly one of the most intrusive means of access since the attacker can simply read all your messages with no editing. The best way to avoid these apps is by using an application called App Locker and enable it on your smartphone.
App Locker will let you shut down any application on your smartphone to secure it. In any attacker tries to copy a stored file on your backup log from your WhatsApp he will have to unlock your phone manually to do so.
4. Activate the Two-Step Authentication to Access WhatsApp
Two-steps authentications have been standard issue for a lot of apps for a while now. WhatsApp is coming late to the party, but they have finally made it available for everyone. By enabling two-step verification, any attempt to access your account will have to be verified with a six-digit PIN that is created to use this feature.
To enable two-step verification, you only have to open WhatsApp, find the settings option, tap the account option and locate the two-step verification to put it in place. If you don’t recall the six digit pin to access the app at some point, you can also add an e-mail address that will allow WhatsApp to send a link via e-mail to disable the feature until you use it again.
So, in short: (WhatsApp > Settings > Account > Two-step verification > Enable)
How to Secure WhatsApp Account?
1. Avoid Using Public Wi-Fi Networks
As we said previously, open networks are like an all-you-can-eat buffet for hackers. They can easily access your apps through these insecure connections. Most e-mail hacks happen this way, and they can also take hold of any social media platforms you access using these networks.
2. Don’t Lend Your Phone To Anyone
This one is a tough pill to swallow if you are one of the good guys, but these hacks happen so easily because the hackers target their marks by faking an emergency and asking for your phone to make a call. They need a minute to access your phone and set the malware they need to get your information. Make sure to check your IMEI number and remember it, this is a unique trait to all mobile devices.
3. Block Any Unwanted Installation
This happens a lot to seniors or to persons who are not tech savvy at all. If you visit indiscriminate websites on your smart devices, the chances are that a tracking cookie will invite you to install an app on your phone offering a utility that sounds too good to be true. Avoid these installations at all costs. Almost always these so-called apps are spyware that latches on your device and steals all the information that you store on it, including login passwords and credit card numbers.
4. Lock Down WhatsApp
If you are not feeling sure about the state of your device you need to install Applock to help you close down all sessions of WhatsApp in all devices where your account might be active. Unfortunately, the app doesn’t have this feature, but you can download the app from the Google Store and lock it on all fronts by setting a unique password or PIN.