WhatsApp is probably the most popular instant messenger out there and is a social network in its own way.
Most people share their important and sensitive information through WhatsApp because it has end-to-end encryption, which is enabled by default and cannot be turned off. If you are a regular user of WhatsApp then here are some tips that you should follow to protect your security and privacy on WhatsApp:
#1 Check End-to-End Encryption for Sensitive Conversations
All the WhatsApp chats are end-to-end encrypted by default but if you are having a sensitive conversation with someone then it is better to double-check the encryption. When sharing sensitive information like credit card details or banking details then always ensure that the encryption is there.
To verify and check the encryption, open the chat window with the contact, tap on the contact’s name, and then tap on Encryption.
Here you will see a QR Code along with a 40-digit long code which is your security code. You can verify the encryption by comparing the digits manually or scanning the contact’s QR code by using the Scan Code button. If the QR Code match or the 40-digit code is the same then the end-to-end encryption is enabled for your chat.
#2 Turn on Security Notifications
When an existing chat is accessed on a new phone or PC then a new security code is generated for both the devices and if you want to receive a notification whenever the security code changes, then you can enable it from the settings. In this way, you can ask your friend when the security code changes over a different app whether he changed the devices or not to make sure that it is him who is accessing the chats.
To enable the security notifications for chats, just go to WhatsApp > Settings > Account > Security > Show security notifications and enable this option. Once you enable it, the next time any of your contacts changes his/her device, you will receive a notification.
#3 Enable Two-Step Verification
If two-factor authentication is supported by any service then you should enable it. WhatsApp supports two-factor authentication which once enabled will require a PIN when your phone number will be registered with WhatsApp again on the same or different device.
You can enable the Two-Step Verification on WhatsApp by going to Settings > Account > Two-step verification > Enable and then setting the six-digit PIN Code. You can also add a recovery email in case you forget the PIN Code.
It is a great security measure that will prevent anyone from registering your phone number on WhatsApp on any other account without your consent.
#4 Control Your Privacy Settings
When talking about private messengers then WhatsApp is usually left out of the conversation because it isn’t the most private messenger available out there but it gives users a little bit of control over their privacy. When using WhatsApp then make sure that your WhatsApp Profile Photo or WhatsApp Dp is visible to your contacts only along with your WhatsApp Status so that even if someone knows your number, he won’t be able to access your WhatsApp Profile Picture or Status.
You can also control the privacy settings of other things including your Last Seen, About, Live Location. You can also turn off the Read Receipts if you want to and blue tick marks wouldn’t be visible.
#5 Turn Off iCloud / Google Drive Backups
WhatsApp has the end-to-end encryption option available, which is awesome and prevents anyone from eavesdropping, however, there is one thing that isn’t end-to-end encrypted and that is your backup. WhatsApp gives users the option to backup their chats on Google Drive, iCloud, or no backup at all. Backing up the chats is a good choice because if you switch phones or reinstall the app then you can always retrieve the old chats from the backups, but this backup is not encrypted.
If you care enough about your privacy then you need to disable the iCloud/Google Drive backup because your data might not be safe with Apple/Google and government organizations can easily eavesdrop on you. Although, backing up is a good thing because your data is safe and you can easily recover from the backup when required but your privacy is at risk.
#6 Enable Fingerprint Lock
If you want to take your privacy and security of WhatsApp to the next level then you can enable the Fingerprint lock for WhatsApp. This lock, when enabled, will require you to use your fingerprint to open WhatsApp, however, You will still be able to answer calls even when WhatsApp is locked. This is a safety feature that if someone manages to get hands-on with your phone while it is unlocked, he won’t be able to open WhatsApp without your fingerprint.
#7 Don’t Get Scammed
Scams are very common on WhatsApp and you might receive scam messages on WhatsApp periodically. There are many scams out there but the common ones include WhatsApp Premium or WhatsApp Gold or Your WhatsApp Account is Expiring. All of these scams are designed to extract money from the users but you should remember one thing that WhatsApp is completely free and you don’t need to pay money for WhatsApp. WhatsApp is available for free and will always be free, anyone asking you to pay a fee for WhatsApp is probably scamming you.