WhatsApp is the most popular messaging platform with over 1 billion monthly users, and with that comes security threats. Any social media tool that has some form of popularity will have security threats, and WhatsApp is no exception to that rule.
Is WhatsApp safe?
In this article, we are going to talk about some of the risks you should know about to better protect yourself when using the service. With over 65 billion messages per day, we expect things to get even worse unless Facebook finds a way to plug all the holes.
1] Back-ups are not encrypted
We all want to save our important messages sent through WhatsApp, and the easiest way to get this done is by using the backup feature. Users can have the feature automatically back-up their data to the cloud, but there is a problem.
You see, when WhatsApp uploads your messages to Google Drive or Apple iCloud, your messages are decrypted, and they stay that way for some strange reason. That means anyone with access to your cloud accounts could potentially gain access to all of your messages.
This is bad because your messages are stored on the servers of two of the biggest tech giants in the United States. A mere warrant could see your data in the hands of the government, and with no encryption, well, you know the rest. It might therefore be a good idea to disable WhatsApp cloud backups to their servers.
2] Your WhatsApp Status is not exactly private
OK, so check this. When you use the WhatsApp Status feature, which is designed to be more private than public, everything posted is shown to all peoples on your WhatsApp account. If you have hundreds of contacts, all of them will see what is going on.
Now, it is possible to choose who sees your status, but WhatsApp doesn’t make it apparent, and as such, most people have no idea all eyes are on their status. As it stands right now, it is not possible to make changes to the status via the Windows 10 app or WhatsApp Web, therefore, one has to use their mobile device.
To make your status more private, navigate to Settings > Account > Privacy > Status. From there, you should see the following options:
- My contacts
- My contacts except…
- Only share with…
Select either the second or third option to decide who should get the chance to view your statuses.
3] Data sharing with Facebook
One of the biggest fears over the Facebook purchase of WhatsApp was the possibility of the popular social network collecting data from the messaging service. At first, Facebook tried to put aside such fears after the company was accosted by the European Union.
From what we’ve gathered, the EU was assured that both WhatsApp and Facebook data will be kept separate, but that is no longer the case.
4] Fake News
Most forwards on WhatsApp today are not but fake news. If a user wants it to be true, he simply forwards it without checking its veracity. So you need to be very careful before forwarding and news or items unless you are very sure that it is true.
5] Malware via WhatsApp Web
Most of us tend to use WhatsApp via our Android and iOS devices, but it is also possible to use WhatsApp on a Windows computer by the use of WhatsApp Web. The thing is, if you’re not careful, your Windows 10 computer could end up infected with malware.
Hackers on the web can trick people to use a website that looks similar to WhatsApp Web, and it’s not hard to do. With this in mind, we suggest using the WhatsApp Web app from the Microsoft Store to be on the safe side.