WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging apps. What made it so famous is that it was the first mobile app to offer free messaging. It has even eclipsed SMS, as the user no longer has to worry about the number of characters.
Another thing that users don't need to worry about is the username. WhatsApp doesn't need it. It connects to your cell phone number, so you appear to other users as the same name they gave you in their contact list.
Unfortunately, hackers can infiltrate your WhatsApp account. When this happens, you may wonder what you can do to recover your account and secure it to avoid future problems. This article will teach you what to do if your account is compromised and help you protect it in the future.
How to know if your account is compromised
One of the main indicators that your WhatsApp account is compromised is see contacts that are not yours. WhatsApp is so intuitive that it will add your contacts when you log in on a new device. Another sign is, of course, messages you did not send. If you open WhatsApp and see suspicious messages, someone is probably using your account.
Another telltale sign of a compromised WhatsApp account is strange corporate communications. For example, you may have received an email about a change to your account. If you received something like this, it's a good idea to act now.
Finally, the company itself may have been hacked. This situation is usually a large-scale attack that compromises user data. Unfortunately, there isn't a great way to detect this type of activity. But WhatsApp will send you notifications that your account may have been compromised.
For more information, here's how to recognize suspicious activity on Snapchat.
What to do if your WhatsApp account is hacked
Now that you've discovered ways to tell if your account has been hacked, it's time to learn what to do. Remember, you'll want to act quickly to protect your private information and regain control of your account.
1. Notify your contacts
One of the newest scams we've seen in 2022 is hackers asking for a verification code while pretending to be your contact. Due to the nature of WhatsApps security features, all you need is a phone number and verification code to log in.
When someone compromises your WhatsApp account, they can now send messages to your contacts that the company sent your verification code and gain access to their account. That's why one of the first things you'll want to do is send a message to your friends and family, let them know you lost access to your account. This action prevents further exploitation of your account and others.
Another reason you'll want to let your contacts know that you don't have access to your WhatsApp account is because they may be looking for your personal information. From your bank number to your email address, hackers will cunningly try to gain access to as much of your personal information as possible.
2. Do not log out and log back in if you receive verification codes
Although it might sound a bit strange, one of the methods hackers use is verification code to lock you out so they can gain access. This action works because WhatsApp only allows a limited number of verification codes to be sent at a time. When the hacker uses all your attempts, you will have to wait 12 hours to receive another one. But the hacker is better prepared than you, so he will get the codes and log into your account. They effectively block you.
If you receive multiple WhatsApp text messages with verification codes, it is best to ignore them. Continue to use your WhatsApp account as you normally would.
Hacked WhatsApp FAQ
Can a hacker see my messages?
No. According to WhatsApp, all messages are stored on your device and not in a cloud service. If someone illegally accesses your account, they won't see any of your previous conversations.
How do I know if my WhatsApp account has been hacked?
First, check if your battery life has decreased significantly. If so, that may be a sign.
Check if the amount of internet data used by your phone has increased for no apparent reason. If so, there's a chance you've been hacked.
As you probably already know, your phone's temperature rises if it's under increased pressure. However, if you're not using large, resource-intensive apps, at least for now, and your phone still heats up, you should consider spyware as a possible suspect.
What else can I do if my WhatsApp account is hacked?
Besides telling friends and family about the hack and staying logged into WhatsApp when receiving activation codes, it's a good idea to deactivate WhatsApp Web.
There is an option labeled "Log out of all computers" which you should use. The feature also contains a list of devices you last used your account on so you can see if you don't recognize any. The only problem with this method is that it is based on the server you are connected to, and VPNs also send the wrong location information. Either way, location details can be a surefire sign of an unauthorized user in your account, mainly when checking where you logged in based on what your device sends in the form of information.
App lockers are an added consideration, helping you lock down any app on your smartphone. This way hackers will have to unlock your phone before attacking it further. There are also lockers specifically for WhatsApp.
Finally, try enabling two-step verification in account settings for an extra layer of protection.
Things to know for the future
Irrespective of hacking horror stories, you can prevent many hacker attacks. In most cases, we unknowingly give hackers access to our devices when we open an infected message or other piece of content sent from a suspicious source.
If you ever receive a message from an unknown number or a suspicious link, avoid opening it. The same goes for app installs. 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 use with care. Networks in public places are often open and should therefore be avoided as this will reduce the risk of hacking.
If all else fails, it is best to lock WhatsApp on your phone with an app locker or simply deactivate your WhatsApp account.
Let others know
If you find out you've been hacked before someone asks about some strange activity on your account, be sure to tell them and post it on as many social networks as possible. Also, don't forget to report the problem to WhatsApp, as they will likely help you take further action.
When all is said and done, you probably shouldn't worry too much. In all likelihood, you are not the main target of these attacks, at least if you do not give too much information on social networks. Try to share less and just focus on the social aspect of these apps. Also, remember to take preventive measures like locking WhatsApp just for security.