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HomeEntertainmentIs WhatsApp Safe? 5 Scams, Threats, and Security Risks to Know About

Is WhatsApp Safe? 5 Scams, Threats, and Security Risks to Know About

WhatsApp security is a problem, and it is often a target for hackers and scammers. WhatsApp security: Is it safe? Here are the facts.

WhatsApp, a Meta-owned messaging app, is one the most used messaging apps in the world. The app is used by over a billion people every day, sending more than 65 billion messages.

Security concerns, malware threats, spam, and other issues have all started to surface on WhatsApp. Here are the most popular security concerns and scams that WhatsApp users face.

1. WhatsApp Web Malware

WhatsApp’s large user base makes it a target for cybercriminals. Many of these criminals focus on WhatsApp Web. WhatsApp allows you to open websites, download desktop apps, scan codes with your phone and then use WhatsApp on your computer.

The App Store for iOS and Google Play Store for Android are more tightly controlled than the rest of the internet. It’s easy to find the official WhatsApp app when you search on these stores. This is not true for the wider internet.

This has been a lucrative opportunity for hackers, criminals, and scammers. In some cases, attackers have disguised malicious software as WhatsApp desktop apps. You may be able to spread malware or compromise your computer if you have been unfortunate enough to download one of these applications.

Hackers were able to install WhatsApp spyware in some cases due to a vulnerability.

Some others tried another approach: they created phishing websites that trick you into giving your personal information. These websites pretend to be WhatsApp Web and ask for your phone number in order to connect to the service. They will use your phone number to send spam and correlate with other leaked or hacker data.

It is best to only use apps and services that are official to keep yourself safe. WhatsApp provides a web client that you can use on any computer. This is WhatsApp Web. You should only access it through the WhatsApp website. You can also download official apps for Android, iPhone and macOS. This will help you avoid WhatsApp scams.

 

iOS

2. Unencrypted Backups

WhatsApp messages are encrypted from the beginning to the end. These messages can only be decoded by you and the recipient’s device. This prevents messages from being intercepted while they are being transmitted, even by Meta. This feature doesn’t protect the messages after they have been decrypted.

WhatsApp lets you back up all your messages and media on Android or iOS. This feature is essential because it allows you to retrieve accidentally deleted WhatsApp messages . You can have a backup of your phone locally and a cloud-based backup. You can backup your WhatsApp data to Google Drive on Android. If you have an iPhone, your backup destination will be iCloud. These backups include encrypted messages from your iPhone.

 

The backup file on iCloud and Google Drive is not encrypted. This backup file, which contains encrypted versions of all your messages and is therefore theoretically vulnerable, weakens WhatsApp’s encryption.

You have no control over your backup location and are dependent on cloud providers to protect your data. It is possible to hack iCloud and Google Drive, even though no major hacks have been reported. An attacker could also use other methods to gain access your cloud storage accounts.

One of the benefits of encryption is that it can be used to block government and law enforcement access to your data. The unencrypted backup stored on one of the two US-based cloud storage provider providers means that the government would not have access to your messages without a warrant.

 

WhatsApp has updated its service to offer encrypted chat backups. This setting is by default disabled. To secure your WhatsApp backups, go to Settings > chats > Chat Backup.

3. Facebook Data Sharing

Meta (formerly Facebook), has come under a lot of criticism in recent years. One of the criticisms is about the company’s market monopoly and anticompetitive actions. Regulators try to reduce anti-competitive behavior through evaluating takeovers.

When Meta decided to add WhatsApp to its “Meta family”, the European Union (EU), only approved the deal after Meta had assured that both companies and their data would be kept apart.

Meta quickly reneged on the agreement. WhatsApp’s Privacy Policy was updated in 2016 to allow data sharing from WhatsApp to Meta and Facebook. It didn’t disclose the extent of the data transfer but it did include your phone number as well as your usage data such your last use of the service. This could put your WhatsApp messages at risk.

 

Although users were assured that their data would not be made public on Facebook, it was implied that Meta would store it in your private and inaccessible profile. Meta has made improvements to facilitate data sharing over the years.

You could opt out from cross-platform data sharing via WhatsApp after the 2016 announcement. However, this option was quiet removed later. In 2019, Meta revealed plans to merge its messaging platforms. The company connected Messenger with Instagram Direct in late 2020.

Meta published a new WhatsApp data sharing policy in January 2021. It mandates the transfer of your data between the messaging app, and the social network. Users complained and the company responded that it would limit WhatsApp features for those who don’t opt-in.

Meta has softened the penalties once more as of June 2021. However, it will encourage users to continue to use the new policies.

4. Fake News and Hoaxes

Social media companies have been criticised for allowing misinformation and fake news to spread on their platforms in recent years. Meta has been criticized for spreading misinformation during the 2020 US Presidential Campaign. These same forces have also affected WhatsApp.

 

India and Brazil are two of the most prominent cases. In the violence that took place in India in 2017 and 2018, WhatsApp was involved. WhatsApp was implicated in the widespread violence that occurred in India during 2017 and 2018. These messages were shared widely across networks, resulting in the lynchings of those who were accused of these false crimes.

During the 2018 Brazilian elections, fake news was spread primarily through WhatsApp in Brazil. Because this type of misinformation was easy to spread, Brazilian businessmen set up companies that ran illegal WhatsApp misinformation campaigns against candidates. Because your WhatsApp username is your phone number, they were able purchase lists of target phone numbers.

These issues continued throughout 2018, an year that was notoriously difficult for Meta. While digital misinformation can be a complex problem, many people viewed WhatsApp’s response as indifferent.

The company made some changes. WhatsApp has set limits for forwarding, so you can only forward five groups.

 

This is a decrease of 250 over the original limit. In a few regions, the company also removed a forwarding shortcut button.

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