More and more people are spending a lot of time on their mobile phones. Nowadays, people spend a significant hour of their day just playing with the phone. Some people do use their phone for their business, but many of using them to stay connected with friends, family, colleagues and we took a mobile phone to the next level as a source of entertainment. Staying connected in different social networking sites has become a norm. Daily active user in social networking sites like Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter etc. is skyrocketing day by day. The exponential increase in the number of users daily has given a new headache for phone security.
Today, in this article, we are going to talk about one of the popular social networking platform WhatsApp and its stand your phone security.
During a global pandemic of COVID 19, isolation has forced many people to stay connected with the family, friends and relative via the social network. No other messaging platform is gaining popularity like WhatsApp in the time of the pandemic. The number of users using the WhatsApp platform is increased by more 40% in a short period. With this surge in the number of users, many hacker and scammer has found WhatsApp as fertile ground to perform illegal activities. It has affected many people financially. The spread of misinformation like wildfire is a significant concern for WhatsApp. To understand how hacking and scamming gets carried out in WhatsApp, we have to understand what is WhatsApp, how does it work, what sort of security features it has to limit its misuse.
WhatsApp is a free messenger like social network platform owned by the Facebook company. Even though Facebook and WhatsApp, owned by the same parent company, they vastly differ from each other in form interface, phone security, privacy. WhatsApp was created in 2009 to send voice and text message easily. It has gained quite a popularity over the years with its flexible feature and making communication quite fun. In the time of increasing popularity, the Facebook parent company acquired the platform. Even after is overtaking, the quality and how the WhatsApp messenger works has not changed drastically. Some additional feature and security feature is added, but the fundamentals remain the same. After its overtaking by the Facebook parent company, communication via text or voice has become more fun and more comfortable. WhatsApp allows you to send a message and calls on both the mobile platform and desktop platform. What makes it very popular is that it has flexibility in messaging in the different operating systems and can also make use of your Wi-Fi and cellular data to make free phone calls. It also offers provision to make free calls and messages in a group. Besides, form allowing to make free phone calls and text message, it also gives the customer to send the photo, videos, links, file to one another free of cost without any hustle. The main reason for it becoming more popular in youth is that’s it offers flexibility and effectiveness in communicating with their peers.
WhatsApp messenger platform is relatively easy to set up and work with, but accessible to setup means your WhatsApp account is vulnerable to the hacker if not used carefully. WhatsApp does provide some security feature to prevent your account from getting hacked. During the time account setup, it asks for your phone number to send a verification code to ensure that you have possession of the device. Once you enter the six digits verification code, your account is ready to use. The six-digit code does ensure some security to your account. Still, the attacker tries to manipulate six-digit security by contacting victim friend telling that they are having issues to receive six digits verification code, so they claim to send to their friend and ask them to send back the code. When you send the six digits verification code, thinking that you are helping out your friend. Instead, you are providing the attacker with your verification code. It is straightforward as to hijack your WhatsApp messenger account. It is a barbaric attack on our social engineering – trusting and helping out our friend in time of need.
Once the hacker has hijacked your account, they usually ask for money, claim and emergency or threaten to lock your account up. Once they have seized your account, they are highly likely to ask your friends and family for money claiming some emergency. With WhatsApp, the risk of hijacking your backed-up message is relatively low, but hijacker can gain access to the groups you are in and receive new notifications. If you some compromising data stored in your WhatsApp account, they are likely to be exploited by the hijacker. There are some reported cases of blackmailing threatening to expose your compromising data, most likely your nude photos, videos and financial statement. The hijackers can seriously harm your finance and your image in the society.
The security of phone depends on the way you use your WhatsApp messenger. Hijacker haven attacked the high-profile person and subjected them to blackmailing, claiming large sums of money. A recent high-profile WhatsApp hijacking has been of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, where hijacker was able to leak the personal compromising information causing significant damage to his reputation and his relationship. There is some reported case where the hijacker has revealed the nude photo and videos of the victim, causing the victim to some drastic action like suicide. WhatsApp provides end to end encryption for your message, which means only the sender and receiver will be able to read the message. Even though, the message gets encrypted, intelligent and wise use of WhatsApp messenger for communicating would be the best way.
Account hijacking is not a new topic in the WhatsApp messaging platform. During the time of the pandemic, rapid growth in the active user of WhatsApp has caught the eye of Hacker and Scammers. New users account becoming easy prey as they have no information about misuse and threat to their phone security by the action of hacker and scammers. So, people should have accurate information about the security issue within the platform and threat it possesses to their phone security engaging in a new platform like WhatsApp. Bedside, the problems, account hijacking and data thefts, WhatsApp and WhatsApp like the platform are common to another type of problem “Rapid and uncontrollable spread of misinformation”. Uncontrollable misinformation spreading has caused serious to our society and intelligence. There has been some reported incidence of religious, cultural, political violence caused by the spread of misinformation through the WhatsApp Platform. Spreading radical, false political information through this platform is believed to have played a crucial role in the election outcome of a democratic institution. It is a real threat to your society, institutions and education. With the use of social networking sites, it is our obligatory duties to stop spread the misinformation of untrusted sources.
The most obvious action to ensure your WhatsApp account does not get hacked it not to give your six-digit verification code to anyone. There have been attacks in users account in other social networking platforms also. So, the best advice anyone can provide to ensure your phone security is not to share your verification code and passwords to anyone. WhatsApp messenger has provided its user with the second line of protection, which will ensure the safety of your account. The double line security feature will ensure that your account doesn’t get hacked even if somehow your six-digit verification is leaked. WhatsApp Messenger will allow you to step your own six digits PIN.
There may be some confusion between two six digits code, but they are entirely separate from each other. The six-digit code sent by SMS come directly from the application itself during account setup. However, a six-digit PIN is set up by the user itself during account settings. It takes just a few minutes to set up and ensures two-line security for the users. Once you setup the PIN you can backup in your email address and make access whenever necessary. When two-step verification is enabled, any attempt to reset your verification code will be accompanied by the PIN code that you set up in your account setting. In other words, your account will be safe from hijacker even if your verification is leaked. However, WhatsApp messaging platform will secure your phones from malware and fishing sites. The uncontrolled spread of misinformation will always be a threat to society and your intelligence. But you can keep yourself safe from the misinformation by using the information provided only by trusted and authentic sources. People should avoid clicking in suspicious and untrusted files and links in this platform. If you are the victim of account hijacking, you can always uninstall the app and ask for a new six digits code during reinstallation.
Finally, WhatsApp is a secure and encrypted application, but the platform cannot secure the application installed on your phone. You have to ensure your WhatsApp application by enabling two-line verification and not sharing your verification code and passwords with anyone. Like, other social networking sites, you can make safe and intelligent use of WhatsApp to stay connected with your loved ones.