Do this to your WhatsApp so that you don’t get hacked

Edwin Chabuka Avatar

One thing I can say is this is one of those scenarios where the saying “Prevention is better than cure” is truly fitting. Recovering a hacked WhatsApp account is extremely hard and sometimes impossible compared to just preventing it from getting hacked in the first place. So here is how you prevent your WhatsApp account from getting hacked.

Use the genuine version of WhatsApp

I know some of you and your shady dealings prefer to use non-genuine versions of WhatsApp like GB. They are cool and they have some interesting features in there. However, the fact that they are not genuine means that their security cannot be verified. They could have some backdoors that may allow someone with enough motivation to break into your account and take it over.

What you want to do is download your WhatsApp from a trusted source like the Google Play Store, Huawei App Gallery (for Huawei devices with no Google Play Store), or directly from the WhatsApp website that I linked here. These sources are regulated and have security measures kept up to date so that your WhatsApp does not have any backdoors someone can use to take over your account.

Keep it updated

There is a conspiracy running around saying updating apps and the software fills up your phone’s storage and that updates ruin a perfectly working app or phone. That is not true. Updates bring in new features to already existing apps that you might actually like, for example, if you keep your genuine version of WhatsApp updated, you will get most of those features that you are getting in your GBs but without the security risk.

On top of that, updates also come with enhanced and up-to-date security measures to ensure that hacking someone’s account remains extremely impossible. Because the older something is, the more hackers understand it better and develop new tools and methods of hacking it. So if you keep your app updated, the hackers and their methods will always be outdated.

Setup 2-Factor Authentication (2FA)/2-step verification abeg!

2-factor Authentication (2FA) is an added security measure specifically designed for hackers. Traditionally, the method WhatsApp was used to verify that the number you are using to create the account is yours was by sending an SMS or calling this number and issuing a 6-digit verification code. Never share this 6-digit verification code with ANYONE!

This worked well up until hackers were able to intercept these SMSs and/or calls before they got to the owner. This process is called sim swapping. This is where 2FA comes in. On top of the verification code sent to you by WhatsApp, you can also set a custom 6-digit PIN that WhatsApp will ask for whenever you are setting up your account on a new device. If a hacker is to try and hack your account, they will need to have this pin to complete the process of taking over your account. It makes it extremely hard for your account to be hacked when 2FA is enabled. Here is how you enable it.

  • Open WhatsApp, click on the 3-dot menu button, and select “Settings”
  • Click “Account” and select “Two-step Verification
  • If you have not turned on two-step verification there will be a button saying “Turn on”. Click on it and set your 6-digit pin
  • WhatsApp will randomly ask you to enter this pin to just ensure that you do not forget it and that the user of the account is still you.

Set an email, useful in recovering a hacked account

In the latest version of Genuine WhatsApp, I have to keep reminding you GB users, WhatsApp added an option to add your email to the app. The purpose of this email is to try and make use of it to recover your account in the event that it’s successfully hacked. Here is how you set it up.

  • Open WhatsApp, click on the 3-dot menu button, and select “Settings”
  • Click “Account” and select “Email address”
  • Enter your email address, preferably one that you own and use already.
  • WhatsApp will use this email to send you a 6-digit verification code as a way of confirming the email address. (It expires after 4 hours)
  • Enter this verification code in WhatsApp and you are all set.

In the event that you are hacked and you are trying to recover your account, WhatsApp will ask you for the email that was linked to the account. If the email addresses match, WhatsApp will send you an email to reset your account which will log out of all the devices the app is logged into and you begin the account creation process again. If you had two-step verification enabled, you might be asked for the 6-digit PIN you set up so don’t forget that one.

Stay away from suspect stuff on the internet or circulating on WhatsApp

We all know about those posts. “if you don’t forward this message to 20 contacts you are a devil worshipper”, and “Share in 10 groups and good luck will come your way before the day ends”. All those messages with links to some get-rich-quick schemes. These are all rich and fertile grounds for hackers.

You end up unknowingly being sent to sites that install all sorts of plugins and malware on your phone, some of which will be collecting data from your phone and sending it back to the hacker who made the malware. Some of this data is what they then use to obtain information they will use to gain access to your apps and accounts. If it looks suspect ignore it.

As you can see from this post, taking measures to prevent your account from getting hacked is a lot easier than trying to recover a hacked account. So share this with your loved ones now before they come to you, their resident tech guy, asking you the impossible question of how to regain access to their hacked account.

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33 comments

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  1. Omega Mtaung

    Thanks for the information

    1. chingx

      how does sim swapping work…?

      1. Kabhanzi

        Google it … it’s basically cloning your sim card

  2. Harmony Dube

    I hope the addition of recovery email doesn’t compromise existing security features, particularly two step verification. Suppose a hacker doesn’t know your two step verification code, but has access to your email, they can reset your two step verification code via your email, and gain access to your account.

    I hope users also use two factor authentication for those emails as well.

    Just saying.

    1. Munashe Gonah

      How do you use two factor authentication please

  3. TwwuSx3

    Personally, my Sec.Lvl on WhatsApp is 2FA only.
    I didn’t setup email recovery for this as a way to reduce my Digital Footprint to Big Tech & Uncle Sam & Varakashi(I guess).

    If you think thus a little paranoid, indeed you’re right.
    I’m one of those people that reviews those prompts on cookies, then goes on to disable everything (unless those “Necessary” ones)

    /*****
    After accepting “Necessary” ones from suspect sites, I clear Browsing data from last hour, under the Advanced pane, which includes cookies & all the juicy Ad tracking stuff.
    *****/

  4. Saidi

    Thanx for the info

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    Help me my account is banned from using whattsapp

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