These days, ways to secure your personal chats is one of the top search strings on Google and other Search engines. WhatsApp chats are more than just simple texts. They form part of our daily life and we sometimes show a bit of our private life on WhatsApp. We all know it. We share photos, videos, bank account details, contacts and what not on WhatsApp. And with so much personal data flying loosely around, if you take privacy and security of your WhatsApp for granted then it might be a Gold mine for people with criminal minds.
ESET advices WhatsApp users by providing top security tips to stay secure on their personal chats. Recent data from WhatsApp shows that there are more than 700 million monthly active members, sending a combined total of 30 billion messages a month. That’s an enormous volume of personal information being communicated, and even though WhatsApp encrypts all messages and data sent on its platform, it pays to be secure with your chats. Here are 8 ways to secure your personal chats on WhatsApp.
One of the best ways to secure your personal chats on WhatsApp is to protect the app with a password or PIN. WhatsApp itself doesn’t offer such a function, but there are third-party apps that do. It might seem weird at first, but if you lose your phone, it’s going to prevent anyone else accessing your chats. Messenger and Chat Lock, Lock for WhatsApp and Secure Chat are some of the Android apps that do just that.
Block WhatsApp photos from appearing in photoRoll
It would be right to assume that your WhatsApp conversations might sometimes take a clear cut ‘personal or private’ note. Especially if you are sharing images with your significant other, the last thing you want is for those images to appear in your Photo Gallery, popping up when you let a friend swipe through your holiday snaps.
This is quite easy to fix on iPhone: Go into your phone’s Settings menu, then ‘Privacy’, ‘Photos’, and deselect WhatsApp from the list of apps whose images are fed into the photostream.
Android users will have to get under the hood a little bit. Using a file explorer app like ES File Explorer, find WhatsApp’s ‘Images’ and ‘Videos’ folders. Create a file within each called ‘.nomedia’. That will stop Android’s Gallery from scanning the folder. or better still, click on the person’s profile on whatsApp, select media visibility and tick ‘NO.”
If you exclude WhatsApp images from your photoroll, and lock the app as above, it provides an extra layer of security if your phone is stolen or hacked into – but it won’t be a 100% bulletproof solution.
Hide ‘last seen’ timestamp
Am not sure you want people to know whenever you’re coming on and offline? It may not seem like vital information at first, but if a scammer already knows some other things about you, adding that last piece of information could prove useful to them – whether you’re awake or not; at home or at work; coming out of the shopping mall or going for lunch. You just might not want contacts – especially colleagues, or your boss – to know you’re checking WhatsApp frequently at your desk. You can disable or restrict who sees your ‘last seen’ time in WhatsApp’s ‘Profile’; ‘Privacy’ menu, in Android, iOS, Windows or Blackberry. Be advised though, if you turn it off, you won’t be able to see other users’ ‘last seen’ times either.
Restrict access to profile picture
Is your profile photo one you’ve used elsewhere, like on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter? Maybe it’s even on your company’s website. If it is, and your WhatsApp sharing is public, anyone you’ve ever spoken to – even if you’ve just replied to an unwanted message – can download your pic from your WhatsApp profile and, using Google Image search, very quickly find out more about you. Quickly set profile picture sharing to “contacts only” in the Privacy menu to avoid this.
Watch out for scams
WhatsApp it staff or any of their representative will never contact you through the app. Also, WhatsApp does not send emails about chats, voice messages, payment, changes, photos, or videos, unless you email their help and support to begin with. Anything offering a free subscription, claiming to be from WhatsApp or encouraging you to follow links in order to safeguard your account is definitely a scam and not to be trusted. Please use your head.
Deactivate WhatsApp if you lose your phone
WhatsApp offers users simple and effective security tips to help keep control of your account should you ever lose your phone or if stolen. As well as locking your SIM card through your network service provider, WhatsApp highly recommends that you immediately activate WhatsApp with the same phone number on a different phone, with a replacement SIM as soon as possible. WhatsApp can only be used by one number on one device at a time, doing so you instantly block it from being used on your old phone. If that’s not possible, WhatsApp can deactivate your account.
Be careful what you talk about
WhatsApp is a form of digital communication, use the same common sense you would with any form of digital communication. Don’t send personal information no matter what. If you can possibly avoid it – addresses, phone numbers, email addresses – and never send your bank, NIN or banks and credit card details, or your passport or other means of personal identification details. Keep them off WhatsApp
Remember to log out of WhatsApp Web
WhatsApp recently made a lot of noise with the launch of WhatsApp Web. The mirroring service makes life easier while working on PC. However, most users are unware that they should ideally log out of WhatsApp Web on Google Chrome browser either from their mobile or the browser. Just imagine your friends or colleagues reading your chats on a large screen while you stepped out to use the bathroom. Make sure you always log out of WhatsApp Web after every session even on your personal computer.
Identity theft is real, keep yourself, family, friends and loved ones out of embarrassing situations by following these few WhatsApp Security tips outlined above. We do hope you find this 8 ways to secure your personal chats useful.
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