Phones-Computers

Activate these 4 WhatsApp settings NOW to stop snoopers – including face-lock and encryption

AS messaging apps go, WhatsApp is a pretty safe way to talk to your friends online.

However, there are lots of little ways you can protect yourself further from WhatsApp snoopers and we’ve rounded up a few below.

WhatsApp has many privacy tools you can turn on

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WhatsApp has many privacy tools you can turn onCredit: Alamy

Setup two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication is very useful to have setup on any device that contains personal data like photos and messages.

It just means adding an extra security step before you can access an app or device.

Open WhatsApp, go to Settings, then click “Two-Step Verification”.

The click “Enable” and enter a PIN of your choose.

Two-factor authentication is an extra layer of security

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Two-factor authentication is an extra layer of securityCredit: Alamy

WhatsApp will occasionally ask for this PIN when you use the app to double check it is you.

This is useful if your phone is hacked or if someone knows the password to your handset but not your WhatsApp PIN.

Then PIN will also be required to add contacts.

Turn off read receipts

This step is useful if you don’t want people to know you’ve read their message.

It just means if you do open a message, the person who sent it won’t see two blue ticks to indicate you’ve seen it.

Go to Settings, click “Privacy” and then turn the “Read Receipts” toggle off.

This means you won’t be able to see if other people have read your messages.

Bear in mind that read receipts are always visible on group chats.

Use Face Lock

WhatsApp has a Face ID feature that means you can only unlock the app with your own face.

To turn it on, go to Settings, click “Privacy and then “Screen Lock”.

You’ll see a “Require Face ID” toggle that you can turn on and off.

There’s also a message that explains: “When enabled, you’ll need to use Face ID to unlock WhatsApp.

“You can still reply to messages from notifications and answer calls if WhatsApp is locked.”

Make your encryption secure

WhatsApp is already encrypted so your messages are already pretty safe.

This means only you and the chat you’re sending messages to can see the conversation unless they happen to be ‘screenshotting’.

However, if you back up your chats to the cloud then they aren’t protected in the same way.

Law enforcement could ask Google or Apple for access to your backed up chats and there’s a chance they could be handed over.

Alternatively, a hacker could enter your cloud backup.

To turn off cloud backup go to Settings, then click “Chats”, “Chat Backup”, “Auto Backup” and then turn the toggle off.

WhatsApp – a quick history

Here’s what you need to know…

  • WhatsApp was created in 2009 by computer programmers Brian Acton and Jan Koum – former employees of Yahoo
  • It’s one of the most popular messaging services in the world
  • Koum came up with the name WhatsApp because it sounded like “what’s up”
  • After a number of tweaks the app was released with a messaging component in June 2009, with 250,000 active users
  • It was originally free but switched to a paid service to avoid growing too fast. Then in 2016, it became free again for all users
  • Facebook bought WhatsApp Inc in February 2014 for $19.3billion (£14.64bn)
  • The app is particularly popular because all messages are encrypted during transit, shutting out snoopers
  • WhatsApp has over 2billion users globally
New WhatsApp features that could come out in 2020 

In other news, Facebook has sparked widespread fury over a threat to ban news stories in Australia.

Rumours suggest the iPhone XR, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max could be decommissioned when the iPhone 12 arrives.

And, Facebook messenger has started to merge with Instagram chat.

What’s your favourite app to message on? Let us know in the comments…


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