How to stay safe on WhatsApp for Android and iOS

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Your security on WhatsApp is very important, and you should be very careful. Discover all the ways to be safe on WhatsApp in this article.

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Common questions Answers
Topic about? Stay safe on WhatsApp
Article for? WhatsApp for Android and iOS
Previous news? What happens after May 15th?
STAY SAFE ON WHATSAPP

Today the security is in our hands. No matter how much WhatsApp works to protect your account, it’s up to you to be careful. In this article we listed our personal 10 golden rules to protect you, people and your account, staying away from any form of danger, on WhatsApp for Android and iOS.

  1. Privacy Settings for Last Seen, Profile Picture and About: be sure that your privacy settings are set at least on My Contacts. It’s not a good practice to keep your profile picture public, especially in case of under age kids. Generally I recommend to set private every service you own, for example your Instagram profile too.
    When your last seen is set on Everyone, no-contacts can see when you use WhatsApp, and learn your habits. Yes, sometimes one of our contacts is the “leak”, so Nobody is the best option in this case.
    Probably your about can also be public, but obviously don’t post important information.
  2. Privacy Settings for Groups: this is the most important privacy setting, and it should be updated very often when you add a new contact in your address book. The best option to select is “My Contacts Except…” > Select All, and you have to repeat this operation every time you add a new contact. In this case when someone tries to add you in a group, you won’t be added in the group immediately, but you can receive an invite privately.
    This is very important because any strangers might add you in bad groups, that trigger WhatsApp servers in order to ban you. It is important to exclude all contacts because someone might steal the account of your friends, as we explained here.
  3. Privacy Settings for Status: you should always have the control over things you send to your status updates. By default, when you send a new status update, WhatsApp forwards it to all your contacts but, in some cases, you might want to exclude specific contacts using “My Contacts Except…”. In our opinion the best option you can select is “Only Share With…”, selecting your close friends.
  4. Report contacts and groups: if you receive weird messages from unknown contacts or someone is disturbing you, you should report the contact from Contact Info. Note that, when you report a contact, you’re forwarding to WhatsApp the most recent messages received from the contact. If you have been added in a group from unknown contacts without any authorization, you can report the group from Group Info.
  5. Stay away from hoaxes and fake news: when you receive a message, you have to check its authenticity. The fact that you have received a news on WhatsApp doesn’t mean it’s real. You can recognize hoaxes, phishing and fake news when they are forwarded messages and they ask to forward the message to your contacts, or when there are weird links. WhatsApp highlights when a message contains a suspicious link, but a normal link might be also dangerous. When you have some doubt about the authenticity of a message, you can search it on the web or you can ask for help to your friends. Don’t hurry, take your time to be sure the message is real.
    Be also sure that the contact is reliable. For example it’s very unlikely WhatsApp will contact you to ask for your 6-digit code, or because your WhatsApp account is going to expire.
  6. He is your friend, but he might not be: some people can steal WhatsApp accounts and they can contact you from the account of your friend, pretending to be him. If your friend is asking for something very confidential, for example money, credit card information, a 6-digit code, ask him for a voice message or call him to be sure it’s really your friend the person you’re chatting with.
    The best way to protect your account is to enable the Two Step Verification within WhatsApp Settings, providing a valid mail address. Remember to protect your mail address too, enabling the Two-Step Verification for your mail service too, and you must use a strong password.
    When someone tries to get access to your WhatsApp account, and you receive a SMS containing the 6-digit code:

    • You should ignore those messages.
    • You don’t have to post screenshots of those messages on social networks, because they contain a link to validate the access to the WhatsApp account, and the 6-digit code. If you post a screenshot that contans the 6-digit code somewhere, and the person that wants to steal your WhatsApp account has a profile there, you’re giving away your account easily.
    • Contact [email protected], reporting the situation. When you report it to WhatsApp, you’re protecting yourself from anything bad that might happen later, because if the person will be able to get your account and he will do bad things, at least you can tell to WhatsApp that you already notified them and they might not take any action against you, if what you’re saying is true.
  7. Respect the privacy of your child, but not too much: I’m not saying you have to check for any incoming message from the device of your child, but you should have a major interest for his virtual life, in order to protect him from dangers on the Internet. Try to have a good dialogue with your child and explain what’s bad. Be sure he talks with trusted people you know and why.
    Note that, if you live in a country in the European Region, your child must be at least 16 years old to use WhatsApp (or the age required in your country to use these services, but at least 16 years old), otherwise he must be at least 13 years old.
  8. You can send and revoke, but nothing is safe: if you believe that sending a confidential message or media is safe because you can easily delete the message for everyone, you’re using disappearing messages or you will send it as self-destructing media (available in a future update), you’re wrong. People might save or forward the message before you revoke it or before the message disappears/expires.
    You should always pay attention about things you send on WhatsApp.
  9. Always keep updated your WhatsApp version: it’s very important to stay on the latest version available on the store, because WhatsApp updates also bring security fixes, like the one about Two Step Verification released recently.
  10. Enable biometric authentication to lock WhatsApp: your WhatsApp chats might contain important information about you and other people. Lock the app within WhatsApp Settings > Account > Privacy, if your device supports the feature. When you lock WhatsApp, any attempt to create a WhatsApp Web session will also be blocked if the user doesn’t confirm his identity using the biometric authentication.

These are the most important suggestions to stay safe on WhatsApp. Have you any other suggestion? Be free to submit them on Twitter! Stay tuned for more tips and announcements about WhatsApp!

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