Whatsapp is one of the most widely used social media platforms. The app has as large as 1.5 billion users, and it is a number that is increasing with each passing day. However, ever since it had tied the knot with Facebook in 2016, many users are becoming conscious of its privacy.
More so, with the recent Jeff Bezos incident, privacy over WhatsApp seems to be waning. The app still offers end to end encryption for chats. However, there still happens to be a vast grey area for possible privacy breaches.
Albeit, ultimate privacy is only possible through a VPN. However, attaining privacy over WhatsApp is not as tedious as it may seem. Especially with the app offering numerous features within it. A little knowledge and proper understanding are all you need to attain privacy over WhatsApp.
Therefore we have compiled this article after thorough research that gives insight on how to attain security and privacy over WhatsApp.
1. Disconnect from Facebook
Facebook is notorious for collecting data on its users. The tech giant has been dragged through courts several times for answering privacy concerns raised by users. The platform either collects user information through their activity or connects with various other applications to collect personal data.
Apart from menial information, it goes as far as collecting user’s fertility, heart rate, purchases, interest, likes, and a lot more. All this data is then used to create a personal profile and then send target advertisements.
Therefore as facebook happens to own WhatsApp, data collection can happen through it too. Now, although WhatsApp promises security through fully encrypted chats, disconnecting WhatsApp from Facebook can help get rid of target advertisements.
All you need to do is not use the same credentials to verify Facebook that is on WhatsApp. Such that, for each platform use a separate email address and phone number. With nothing mutual between them and with chats having E2E encryption, Facebook won’t be able to collect user data.
2. Use an antimalware
This is probably the most basic and yet the most overlooked form of online protection. Having legitimate antimalware installed and running into the device is not just a form of WhatsApp privacy. It is, however, one of the most crucial steps one can take for online security.
Specifically, with the recent Jeff Bezos case, where his phone was infected through a malicious video sent on WhatsApp, having antimalware is more crucial. Most antimalware software recognizes malware even before it has spread within the device.
Not only does this antimalware software recognize malware, it further proceeds to remove it from the device. Therefore, having such software within the device can protect from potential malware attacks.
3. Control which group to join
Whatsapp groups are a perfect place to bond over and share things. Let it be classmates, family, friends, coworkers, and more, having a dedicated WhatsApp group makes bonding and sharing things a lot easy.
However, let’s face it! Despite the convenience, they offer WhatsApp groups and can be a nuisance. Additionally, they also allow creeps to get their hands on your WhatsApp number, which then follows with spam messages and what not!
Fortunately, WhatsApp has finally come up with privacy settings for groups. These settings allow you to control if you want to join a WhatsApp group or not. To turn them on, go to settings in your WhatsApp application.
From there open up Accounts>privacy> groups and from there select one of the three options:
- Everyone: There are no restrictions to add you up in a WhatsApp group. Anyone with your number can go ahead and do it.
- My contacts: Only the people present in your contact list can add you in a WhatsApp group
- My contacts except: With this option, you get more control over who among your contact list can add you up in a WhatsApp group.
This new feature is appreciative when it comes to WhatsApp privacy, as it gives users more control over whom they want to interact with.
4. Turn off unencrypted Drive backups
Having backups to chats is convenient and smart. Auto backups with WhatsApp save from the hassle of having to backup important chats and WhatsApp media manually. However, in par with encryption on chats over WhatsApp, this initiative does not extend in any way to backups.
Albeit cloud backups are convenient, but chat backups over Google Drive are encrypted. This makes them vulnerable to attacks. With all of WhatsApp chats sitting innocently over the cloud, just about anyone with proper tools can reach over and snoop into them.
To turn off these unencrypted backups, go to settings and from there tap on
chat>chat backups. Here you will have options of daily, monthly, weekly backups along with a
"never" backup option. Click on "never" to get rid of auto backups.
5. Turn on two-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication offers the best possible way to steer clear of forced entries within your account. It works by sending a verification code or pin to your authentic cell phone number or email address.
That verification code is the only way to verify your identity and access that account. Whatsapp also allows users to enable two set verification. However, WhatsApp’s two-step verification works a tad bit differently.
The app requires users to set up a pin that serves as a password. Anytime you register your phone number to the WhatsApp account, you will to additionally add up the verification pin.
To enable two-step verification in your WhatsApp, go to settings> account> two-step verification. Tap on enable and set up a designated verification pin.
6. Enable biometric protection
Biometric protection is the closest degree of safety we can get over accounts. It is reliable and cancels prospects of forced entries. With WhatsApp being an exceedingly private platform concerning having personal conversations and what not over it, people have been demanding biometric protection for a long time now.
With finger lock protection and face ID, finally, in place with WhatsApp, the app is now considered secure. To turn on this setting, tap on
settings> account> privacy and scroll down to "enable finger lock."
Attaining perfect privacy over the internet is a hard task to execute. Precisely so, with ISPs, criminals, the government, and just about everyone in cyberspace is trying to breach it. However, apps like WhatsApp allow privacy settings within them. Therefore, taking up specific measures such as the ones mentioned here can allow you to attain certain levels of privacy and security.