WhatsApp has for a while been facing huge security crisis as several news portals have reported that over four thousand links inviting people to join private groups had been indexed on Google, suggesting a massive data breach enabling anyone to join these groups.
The Facebook-owned app has reportedly resolved the issue and Google has de-listed the private group invite links from its search engine. But what if you are not really convinced and are worried about random people getting added to your personal groups?
WhatsApp messaging service is incredibly easy to set up, yet your account is open to abuse if you’re not careful. Thankfully, it’s fairly simple to enable an extra layer of security on your account, which means that you won’t lose it if your six-digit activation code gets compromised.
Here are ways to keep Whatsapp hackers off;
- Set up your six-digit pin:
If you haven’t done this yet, ensure your WhatsApp is updated. Then launch the app and tap the three dots on the top right of the screen. Hit “Settings” > “Account” and then pick “Two-step verification.” Hit “Enable,” and then pick your six-digit PIN. When this is done, you’re secured. Ensure you don’t forget the pin because you’ll be prompted at different times to type in the pin before accessing your messages.
- Never share your six-digit WhatsApp code with anyone:
Not even with your parents or your best friend or sibling. This is because they could be careless. Even at that, no one will ever have a legitimate reason to ask for the code that WhatsApp sends you over SMS.
- Don’t send group invites via links:
Rather, add members through phone numbers. It is always secure to add members on any newly formed and existing group. However, if you have already created a link earlier and are now worried, one way to avoid any data or privacy breach is by resetting the link.
To reset your invitation link, go to the particular WhatsApp group and then tap in the group name. Under the Group Info settings, you will see the option “Invite to Group via Link” and select the option to “Reset Link”. Tap on it and it will reset the link, giving you a fresh one and in such a way that it prevents the use of the previous link to join the group. Once you reset the link, WhatsApp will make the old link invalid and people with the older link won’t be able to add themselves to the group by clicking on it.
So your WhatsApp account has been hacked. Definitely a creepy situation but hold on, take a deep breath. Here are things that you can do immediately.
- Check Out WhatsApp Web:
WhatsApp Web is the extension of WhatsApp messenger over the web. This helps you attend to your WhatsApp messages on your computer but is the biggest hole for the trespassers to peep into your personal space. Hence, it’s recommended to use this feature wisely and carefully. Go to WhatsApp Web on your mobile phone and immediately tap on the option of ‘Log out from all the computers’. This will cease all the web extensions of your WhatsApp account.
- Delete Your WhatsApp Messenger Account:
Now delete your WhatsApp account to stop the further unauthorised use of it. This does not mean uninstalling. Uninstalling only stops you from accessing WhatsApp services on your phone but your account is still available. Deleting WhatsApp account is an irreversible action but it’s a crucial step to secure your intimate information from evil eyes. Your message history and Google drive backup would also be erased, once you deactivate your account. Moreover, you’ll be auto removed from all the WhatsApp groups. Better safe than sorry.
- Alert Your Contacts Especially Friends & Family:
Don’t forget to tell your friends and family that your WhatsApp account has been hacked as they might receive questionable contents from the compromised account. Also, update your status on all social media platforms including Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter that your WhatsApp account has fallen into the wrong hands.
- Report the Issue:
Reach out to the WhatsApp help support through its help desk and report your issue. This will help them incorporate the best security features and from time to time to provide the best user satisfaction. This could also help you in taking any legal actions against the said hacker.
Online security and infringement go side by side. It is a bitter truth that hacking can’t be completely eliminated but we can minimise its effect by adopting these and other safe security tips.
Has your account been hacked before? Please share your experience and how it was resolved in the comment section.