WhatsApp is a powerful communication platform used by both Individuals and Businesses across the globe. Like other social media accounts, WhatsApp accounts are being targeted by cybercriminals.
WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned instant messaging platform with end-to-end encrypted chatting is the most popular global mobile messenger apps as of July 2020, with approximately 2 billion active monthly users across the globe.
WhatsApp requires an Internet and an active phone number that is able to receive international SMS messages for a user account to be created.
To ensure new accounts are created by real phone number owners, WhatsApp will send an SMS containing a 6-digit verification code to be entered on the verification screen in WhatsApp during account creation. This verification code sent is unique and changes every time a new phone number or a new device is to be registered.
Cybercriminals always try to trick WhatsApp users to disclose their six-digit verification code, and this code is basically an OTP (One-Time PIN) Code used by WhatsApp users to log-in to an account on a new device.
Once you disclose your WhatApp six-digit verification code to someone, they can gain access to your WhatsApp account and use your account for fraudulent activities.
To reduce the chance of getting your account compromised by hackers, never disclose your six-digit verification code to anyone, and enable two-step verification.
Even when your SIM is stolen, a two-step verification PIN will be required and hackers cannot access your account easily except you disclose it.
The two-step verification PIN is an additional security layer added by WhatsApp to act as a password to restrict access to your WhatsApp account.
But in case your WhatsApp account has already been Hacked, you can still recover it
Here are easy steps to recover your WhatsApp Account:
- In order to recover your hacked WhatsApp account, you need to delete and reinstall WhatsApp on your device with your phone number.
- You will receive a new six-digit verification code via SMS that WhatsApp reads and logs you in automatically. Once you log-in, the hacker will be automatically logged out of your account.
- If you are not installing the WhatsApp on the device with the SIM card, the new six-digit verification code will still be sent and you can enter it on WhatsApp manually.
- If the hacker already activated the two-step verification after gaining access to your WhatsApp account, you will have to wait for seven days before you can recover your account.
To protect your WhatsApp account from Cyber Criminal, never disclose your six-digit verification code or Two-Step Pin with anyone. Disregard calls or text messages asking you to send or disclose passwords, pin or any other Personal Identifying Information.
Another way to quickly stop hackers from further using your WhatsApp account for fraudulent purposes after hacking it is to quickly deactivate the account.
To deactivate, you can send an email to WhatsApp Support at firstname.lastname@example.org with the Email Subject “Lost/Stolen”. The body of the email should contain a message like “Please Deactivate My Account”. You can reactivate a Deactivated Account after 30 days.
As you will agree, prevention is better than cure. Remember to activate the two-step verification on your WhatsApp.
While trying to recover a stolen or hacked account, it is important to find a way to quickly alert family and friends that your WhatsApp account has been hacked. By Alerting them, you protect them from becoming victims of the hacker that may try to defraud them using your hacked account.
To safeguard your WhatsApp account:
- Enable Two-step Verification: To enable the two-step verification feature on your WhatsApp head over to the Setting menu > Account > Two step-verification > click on Enable. Then you can set up a PIN that only you should know.
- Block Suspicious Contact: You may receive messages from suspicious phone numbers not saved on your contact list, just ignore or delete the message and block the contact right away. To block a suspicious contact, click on the contact number > scroll down > click on the block option and that contact won’t be able to send you messages until you unlock it.
- Review and Change Your Privacy Setting: Ensure to review and change your WhatsApp privacy setting. To do this, just head over to the Settings menu and click on the Privacy option.
- Make sure you logout from other devices you have previously logged in: If you login to devices other than your primary phone ensure to logout once you are done using the other device to avoid access to your account without your consent.