WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging applications around. What made it so popular was the fact that it was the first mobile app to offer free messaging. It has even overshadowed SMS, as the user doesn’t have to worry about things such as the character count anymore.
Another thing the users don’t have to worry about is the username. WhatsApp doesn’t need it. It connects to your own cellphone number, so you’ll appear to the other users under the same name they assigned you in their contacts list.
Millions of users around the globe have trusted WhatsApp with their sensitive data believing that the app couldn’t be hacked. However, they were wrong.
The Event That Shocked the World
If you haven’t already heard, the Financial Times discovered that NSO Group, an Israeli spy firm, made an app they used to infect the phones of WhatsApp users with malware. The biggest problem is that they managed to do this with a single call, which the users didn’t even have to answer.
To help you protect yourself, we will look into ways to find out if you’ve been hacked, explain how to solve the problem, and offer tips on how to possibly prevent such occurrences in the future.
How to Know If You Got Hacked
The problem with this latest hack is that you can’t know for certain if you’ve been hacked at all. The call that’s lead you to read this article probably isn’t even in your call log.
There are, however, a few things you should do immediately if you think your phone got hacked. First, check if your battery life has dropped significantly. If so, this may be a sign.
Another thing that’s harder to fake is your data usage statistic. See if the amount of internet data used up by your phone has increased for seemingly no reason. If so, there’s a chance you got hacked.
As you probably already know, your phone’s temperature increases if it’s under increased pressure. However, if you’re not using any large, resource-heavy apps, at least at the moment, and your phone heats up regardless, you should consider spyware the possible suspect.
How to Solve This Problem
WhatsApp did release an update after the attack, but there’s not much else average phone users can do about it. This is the only known method of dealing with this particular attack. By the looks of it, though, it will be enough to help you get over it.
It’s also a good idea to quickly disable WhatsApp Web. There’s an option labeled “Log out of all computers” that you should use. It also has a list of the devices your account was last used from, so you can see if there are any you don’t recognize. As you can guess, that would be a surefire sign of an unauthorized use of your account.
App lockers are an additional consideration, helping you lock any app on your smartphone. This way, hackers will have to unlock your phone before further attacking it. There are also lockers specifically intended for WhatsApp.
Last, but not least, try enabling two-step verification in the Account settings for an additional layer of protection.
Things to Know for the Future
Unlike this one, many hacker attacks can be prevented. In most cases, we unknowingly give hackers access to our devices when we open an infected message or some other piece of content sent from a suspicious source. As such, if you ever receive a message from an unknown number or a suspicious link, be sure to avoid opening it. The same goes for app installations. You should block all installations from unknown sources. The Play Store has an option that allows you to do this.
Public and unsecured networks are another thing you should be mindful of. Networks in public places are often open and should therefore be avoided as that will decrease the risk of getting hacked.
If all fails, it’s best to lock WhatsApp on your phone with an app locker or just deactivate your WhatsApp account.
Let Others Know
If you find out you’ve been hacked before someone asks you about strange activity from your account, be sure to tell them and post it on as many social networks as you possibly can. Also, don’t forget to report the issue to WhatsApp, as they will most likely help you take further action.
When all is said and done, you probably shouldn’t worry too much. In all likelihood, you aren’t the main target of these attacks, at least if you’re not giving away too much information on social media. Try to share less and just focus on the social aspect of these apps. Also, don’t forget to take preventive action, such as locking WhatsApp, just for the sake of security.
Has your WhatsApp account ever been hacked? What did you do and which steps would you recommend others take? Share your tips and experiences in the comments below.