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How to chat safely in WhatsApp

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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

With the development of technologies and the spread of mobile devices, online communication has become an integral part of everyday life. And with that, new risks and threats have appeared. Do you know, for example, that by opening any unfamiliar link in WhatsApp, you risk showing your IP address? And if someone wants to harm you, they can arrange for you, at a minimum, to give a lengthy explanation to a narcotics squad, simply by sending a link to a bookmark under the guise of a "training course". Today, we're going to talk about security measures that should be taken to prevent problems when using WhatsApp. And in the next issues of the Anti-virus Times, we will talk about how to safely communicate in Telegram.

Check your privacy settings

When using WhatsApp, make sure you have studied the available privacy settings. It's important to check what data you share with other users.

How can you do this?

  1. Open the application and go to "Settings".
  2. Select "Privacy" and tap it.
  3. You will see various privacy settings that control the sharing of data with other users. The main parameters you can check are:

    - "Last seen and online" — determines who can see when you were online,

    - "Profile photo" — determines who can see your profile photo,

    - "About" — determines who can see the information about you that you specified in your profile,

    - "Status" — determines who can see your current status,

    - "Read receipts" — determines who can see when you read their messages (the message goes to the "Read" status).

Get rid of unauthorised invitations

Eliminate the possibility of being added to groups that you are not interested in or do not want to have contact with.

WhatsApp has an option that lets you control who can add you to groups. To configure this parameter, go to "Settings" → "Privacy" → "Groups". Here you can select the option "Everyone", "My contacts" or "My contacts except..." depending on your preference. If you have a contact who keeps adding you to unwanted groups, you can block that contact to prevent further invitations. Just go to the contact profile, click on the three dots in the upper-right corner, select "More" → "Block" and confirm your decision.

Use two-step verification

Two-step verification is a good way to increase the security of your messenger account. Check your WhatsApp settings and enable this feature to provide additional protection.

Create a unique PIN

Create a unique PIN for two-step verification. This will help prevent unauthorised access to your messages and data.

Configure security code change notifications

How can you configure WhatsApp security code change notifications?

  1. Open WhatsApp on your smartphone.
  2. Tap the three dots in the upper-right corner of the screen (for Android) or in the lower-right part of the screen (for iPhone).
  3. Select "Settings".
  4. In "Account", select "Security notifications".
  5. Activate the "Show security notifications on this device" option to receive notifications if your security code changes.

Be careful when opening links and attachments

In the messenger, you can receive links and attachments from strangers. Before clicking on a link or opening an attachment, make sure it is secure and the sender is authentic.

Do not accept calls from unfamiliar numbers

Calls from unfamiliar numbers can represent attempts by intruders to get your personal data and financial information or to access to your accounts. They can also be associated with advertising spam or propaganda campaigns.

How do I disable calls made from unfamiliar numbers?

  1. Open WhatsApp on your device.
  2. Tap the "Settings" icon which usually looks like three dots or three horizontal lines in the upper-right corner of the screen.
  3. Select "Privacy".
  4. Scroll down to the Calls option.

Tap this option and select "Silence unknown callers”.

Do not send sensitive data

Messages or photos you send may be copied or saved by others. Think twice before sending something that you don't want to see in the public domain. You do not know whether your conversation partner deletes the correspondence and whether third parties have access to it.

Protect correspondence backups with end-to-end encryption

WhatsApp provides end-to-end encryption for all private messages you send and receive. This guarantees that only you and your conversation partner can read or listen to your correspondence. You can add the same level of protection to your backup in iCloud or on Google Drive. This will help improve privacy and security when using WhatsApp.

How do you enable end-to-end encrypted backups?

  1. Open WhatsApp on your smartphone.
  2. Tap the three dots in the upper-right corner of the screen (for Android) or in the lower-right part of the screen (for iPhone).
  3. Select "Settings".
  4. In the Chats section, select "Chat backup".

In this section, find the option "End-to-end encrypted backup" and enable it. When this option is activated, your chat backups will be end-to-end encrypted in the same way as your private messages.

When you enable backup protection, WhatsApp will ask you to set a password that will be used to protect access to them. Make sure your password is strong.

Be careful when adding new contacts

Before adding a new contact, make sure they are someone you trust. Be alert to random add requests and suspicious profiles.

Do not trust unknown users

There exist many scammers and intruders on the Internet who can try to exploit your naivety or credulity for their own benefit. If someone offers you something that you consider suspicious or incorrect, it is better to ignore such requests or block such users.

How can you block a user?

  1. Open WhatsApp on your device.
  2. Find a chat with the user you want to block.
  3. Tap the name of this user to open the contact information.
  4. Scroll down to "Block" and tap on it.
  5. To continue, select a reason for the blocking.
  6. Once blocked, the user will not be able to see your online statuses, send you messages, or call you via WhatsApp. The user also won't be able to see you on their contact list.

Do not discuss personal topics in public chats

Do not provide too much information about yourself in public chats, especially if there are strangers there. Remember that this data is available to many users. Share personal information, such as your home address, date of birth, place of work or study, etc., only with people you trust.

Delete your correspondence in a timely manner

Deleting your messages promptly reduces the risk of your information getting out in ways you don’t want should your device get lost or accessed without your permission.

WhatsApp has an option to automatically delete messages for individual chats and groups. How can you configure it?

  1. Open WhatsApp on your device.
  2. Open the chat for which you want to configure the automatic deletion of correspondence.
  3. Tap the three dots in the upper-right corner of the screen to open the context menu.
  4. Select "Disappearing messages".
  5. Tap this item and select one of the options: "24 hours", "7 days", "90 days".

Now the selected chat will automatically delete messages according to the specified settings.

Review the devices associated with your account

How can you check the devices associated with your WhatsApp account?

  1. Open WhatsApp on your smartphone.
  2. Tap the three dots in the upper-right corner of the screen (for Android) or in the lower-right part of the screen (for iPhone).
  3. Select "Linked devices".

In this section, you will see a list of all the devices associated with your WhatsApp account, as well as data about the last activity on each of them — for example, the date and time of the last session.

If you find a suspicious device, you can disconnect it by selecting the appropriate option and following the instructions.

Update the application

Regularly update the app to the latest version to apply the latest features and improved security measures. WhatsApp developers are constantly improving their product to prevent vulnerabilities and protect you from possible threats.

The Anti-virus Times recommends

In order to communicate securely on WhatsApp, it is important to be aware of the possible risks and take the following measures to prevent them.

  • Check your privacy settings.
  • Protect against unauthorised invitations.
  • Use two-step verification and a unique PIN.
  • Configure security code change notifications.
  • Be careful when opening links and attachments.
  • Do not accept calls from unknown numbers.
  • Do not disclose personal information.
  • Do not send any sensitive data.
  • Protect the correspondence backup with end-to-end encryption.
  • Be careful when adding new contacts.
  • Do not trust unknown users.
  • Do not discuss personal topics in public chats.
  • Delete correspondence in a timely manner.
  • Review the devices associated with your account.
  • Regularly update the messenger app.

#Google #iOS #backup #two-factor_authentication
 #two-factor_verification #data_loss_prevention #messenger #personal_data #privacy

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