WhatsApp Security Vulnerabilities: Simple Steps to Protect Your WhatsApp Account from Hackers

Facebook’s WhatsApp messaging application is not only incredibly easy to set up but also extremely vulnerable to simple hack techniques.

With more than 300 million daily active users, WhatsApp is one of the popular messaging apps on the internet. The easily installed and setup application requires Windstream internet and a smartphone to work. 

The voice message and text messaging service app rolled out in 2009 and became instantly popular for being one of its kind. The advent of applications almost killed SMS texts. As WhatsApp free text services came to light people started questioning the prices of SMS texts. 

However, after earning praise for facilitating user experience with a simple setup and functioning process, WhatsApp is now in the limelight for all the wrong reasons. According to the US National Vulnerabilities, Database WhatsApp disclosed 12 security vulnerabilities last year. 

In 2020, another report about Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ WhatsApp account hacking in 2018 sparked questions about the security of the widely used messaging application.

In 2018, Jeff Bezos’s WhatsApp was hacked and the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was believed to be the culprit behind the hack according to a report from The Guardian’s Stephanie Kirchgaessner.

The report says that Bezos’s phone became infiltrated a soon as he received a video file sent from Saudi crown prince’s WhatsApp number. 

United Nations on January 22 called for an investigation after the forensic report stated that Saudi officials used a mobile hacking tool to hack into Bezos’ Phone.

Therefore, after this incident, a question surfaced all over the internet, which was, “If Amazon’s CEO’s WhatsApp account can be hacked, so how safe are our accounts?”

Read on to know the answer. 

The Ridiculously Simple Way to Hack WhatsApp

Since Jeff Bezos’ WhatsApp hack, the company has been in discussion for being vulnerable to spyware and keeping users’ personal information on the platform at risk. 

From nation-state attacks on May 14, 2019, to risks from crafted media files sent over the platform in November 2019, WhatsApp was constantly attacked by malicious forces that intended to obtain information of users of the application.

While WhatsApp fixed these issues, the latest bug confirmed by one of the WhatsApp users in a group chat triggered the app users and the internet once again. 

The WhatsApp user said that her account was hacked. Attackers gained access to her account and then captured the phone numbers of the members of her groups.

The hackers then send messages to other group members asking them to send the SMS they receive back to her. 

Which is a simple and easy way to log people out of their accounts, because who would not trust a request this simple by a close friend?

So, if you still didn’t realize why the hackers were asking their predators to send the SMS they receive then here’s a little from behind the scenes.

The SMS message was a WhatsApp verification code for the account of the person who’s receiving the text message. Which the receiver then forwards to the hacker, unknowingly. 

This is how the simple trick makes WhatsApp users hand over their account to the attackers without them realizing it.

How to Secure Your WhatsApp Account

Just like its simple way of installing a running, messaging application, WhatsApp, offers a simple extra layer of protection from attackers. 

With the simple way, you can set up a PIN that you choose yourself. This PIN is completely separate from the PIN that WhatsApp sends upon verifying a new installation. In addition, you can put an email address for further security and a backup option if you forget the PIN you created.

This verification in WhatsApp is as the two-factor authentication since its harder for attackers to beat the password you created yourself. Neither real friends would ask for this code, and even if they do you’ll be able to catch that it’s not your friend but some hacker impersonating as them.

If you are unaware of how this authentication process works then let us guide you systematically to WhatsApp “Two-Step Verification” method:

Step 1: Open your WhatsApp and tap the three dots placed at the top right of the app screen. 

Step 2: Click on Setting > “Account” and then hit “Two-step verification”.

Step 3: Click on Enable to jot down the six-digit PIN.

The next step after picking and enabling the PIN is not much necessary; however, adding your email address into this two-step verification process makes it easier to recover your account if you forget the PIN you set up. 

Even though WhatsApp periodically asks users for the PIN, we still recommend having this as your back up.

Key Takeaways

Being one of the widely used online messaging app, WhatsApp’s vulnerability to spyware is a threat to all of us.

However, with just a simple process you can protect your WhatsApp from malicious hackers and attackers from stealing your data and approaching your contact number for further privacy breaching.