10 Tips for Staying Safe on WhatsApp

With over a billion users worldwide, accounts of terrorists using WhatsApp, along with hackers, scammers and all manner of nefarious individuals and groups are always in the popular media. Here are ten tips to help make WhatsApp a safer social media platform.

1. Protecting your WhatsApp account can be done mainly through the Settings > Account > Privacy option. In here you’re able to secure your personal details, profile, status, messaging and visibility of your account.

2. Thankfully, WhatsApp already encrypts and secures messages sent from one device to another. This means that your data can’t be intercepted and read. However, you can opt to view security notifications if a contact’s security setting has been altered. This is in the Settings > Account > Security menu. chats.

3. For added security you can opt for two-step authentication, which requires a PIN when registering your phone number with WhatsApp. This is an absolute must for those who use the app regularly.

4. Beyond WhatsApp itself, make sure that your phone or tablet is securely locked with an access PIN, pattern, facial or finger print recognition system. This way, should you lose your phone, its locked against anyone who tries to access it and WhatsApp.

whatsapp safety

5. Generally you’re not able to add users to your chat list if you don’t already have them in your contacts list. However, clever phishing scams can have a victim add a contact, who can them message them using WhatsApp. Just as with all social media platforms, be wary of phishing attacks.

6. You can block users via the WhatsApp Web feature. Log into WhatsApp Web and click on the three horizontal dots by your profile picture. Then click Settings and from there click the Blocked option. You can select contacts to block from WhatsApp.

7. You can block all images from appearing on your photostream within WhatsApp. iOS users can look to their Settings then Privacy > Photos and deselect WhatsApp from the list of allowed apps. Android users need to create a file called .nomedia within the WhatsApp images folder to stop the app from listing pictures.

8. If you don’t want WhatsApp contacts to see where you’ve been, you need to disable the Last Seen option within the Privacy settings. This prevents other users from ‘seeing’ your movements. Should a malicious contact be added, then they will never know where you are or have been.

9. Be wary of scams where you’re be contacted through other social media accounts informing you that your WhatsApp account has been compromised. These often request you to add a so-called legitimate contact, who in reality isn’t, or visit a webpage that’s riddled with malware.

10. If you use WhatsApp Web it’s always best to ensure that you’ve logged out of it correctly before leaving your computer. The last thing you need is for someone to come over to your computer and view any conversations between contacts.

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David Hayward

David has spent most of his life tinkering with technology, from the ZX Spectrum, getting his hands on a Fujitsu VPP5000/100 supercomputer, and coding on an overheating Raspberry Pi. He's written for the likes of Micro Mart, Den of Geek, and countless retro sites and publications, covering reviews, creating code and bench testing the latest tech. He also has a huge collection of cables.

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