Six tips to make sure your WhatsApp is protected from hackers

WhatsApp is truly useful to keep in touch with family and friends. But given the amount of personal information traded on the texting platform, it's important that we make sure our privacy on the app is protected.

Protecting your privacy on WhatsApp is a lot easier than you think, because there are several in-built features on the platform itself that can keep our account safe from fraudsters.

Not making full use of the privacy features could be a huge mistake where the protection of your WhatsApp account is concerned. Here are six tips to boost the privacy of your WhatsApp.

Self-deleting texts

The self-deleting text feature is a recent addition to WhatsApp, where texts will automatically self-destruct after a day.

This update is meant to boost your privacy by getting rid of any old WhatsApp messages. The Disappearing Messages can be set for new WhatsApp chats without affecting any of your existing conversations on the app.

To set it up, go to Settings > Account > Privacy and then turn on Default Message Timer. There are three options for durations for Disappearing Messages so that messages vanish after 24 hours, 7 days or 90 days, with a fourth option to simply toggle off the feature.

The feature doesn't prevent someone taking a screenshot or copy of your texts to keep a record of them. Do bear this in mind when you share private information with someone, even if you're using the self-deleting text option.

Use WhatsApp lock

Pretty much everyone locks their phone. However, locking your WhatsApp separately from your phone is very important because it would mean people can't read your texts even if they use your phone.

To set up a WhatsApp lock, go into your settings, then click "Account" and "Privacy". From here you can toggle on "Screen Lock" with either Touch ID or Face ID.

The feature also lets you pick a duration time for when the ID is required again.

Don't share your WhatsApp code

There's a frequent WhatsApp scam, where bad actors try to get the six-digit verification code that WhatsApp gives out when you want to regain access to your account.

Once they have this code, hackers can easily take control of one of your contact's WhatsApp accounts and message you pretending to be them.

If you receive a message with a code you didn't request and any person says that they are your friend who requested that the code be sent to your number, don't give the code out.

If you do share the six-digit code, then the hacker can take over your account, scam your family and friends as well as read your private messages.

Disable media auto-saving

WhatsApp usually tends to save any media that people send you to your phone storage. But toggle this off helps boost your privacy.

In your WhatsApp setting go to "Storage and then "Data." From here, click "Chats" and turn off a toggle called "Save to Camera Roll".

You can also stop the app downloading media from specific chats. For this, just go to the desired chat, click on its title at the top and change the settings via the "Save to Camera Roll" option.

Set up two-factor verification

Always set up two-factor verification on your WhatsApp. This extra step for verifying your account will ensure that hackers are kept away from your WhatsApp.

To set up two-step verification, go to Settings > Account and toggle it to On.

Lock your group settings

If you're on WhatsApp, chances are you've been added to at least one group chat without being asked. There is a setting to prevent this from happening.

Go to Settings > Accounts > Privacy and finally Groups. Now, you'll be able to choose who can send you group invites. The options available to you are Everyone, My Contacts, and My Contacts Except.

The first option doesn't offer much privacy and allows anyone with your phone number to send you a group invite, so it's best to choose one of the two other options.

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