WhatsApp is a popular messaging platform that has been around for a long period of time. It was launched in 2009 and acquired by Facebook in 2014. The application was originally intended to serve as a free messaging service for international communication - however it quickly became popular among other groups and users and currently has around 1.5 billion users worldwide.
Recently, the application has been receiving some positive traction due to its encryption features that make their chats more secure than other similar applications. WhatsApp boasts that it features end-to-end encryption for all messages, photos, videos, voice messages, documents and calls that their users share. This means that WhatsApp does not store any sent messages on its servers - the messages are only visible to those that are sending or receiving them. This separates it from other messaging platforms such as Snapchat, which stores its messages on their own internal servers.
Its end-to-end encryption makes it a safer option compared to other popular messaging apps, including Facebook Messenger, Snapchat and Instagram Messages. However, this does not mean that WhatsApp is risk free, the app still collects information for your profile when creating an account - including contacts and personal information. Furthemore, WhatsApp also tracks how much time you are spending on the application. However, this would be comparable to any popular social media application, and does not mean that WhatsApp stands out as being inherently unsafe.
Here are some tips you can take to help mitigate the potential risks of this social media application:
It is always good practice to enable two factor authentication for any application you have. This will require a second piece of information beyond simply your password to log into your account. This added layer of protection will keep your account more secure from hackers or potential cybercriminals.
You can make sure that WhatsApp is encrypting your data by opening a chat, tapping the person's name and clicking "Encryption". Although WhatsApp does encrypt all chats by default, it never hurts to be sure.
We go more in depth on how to avoid and spot phishing scams in this blog post.
Make sure that you are only visible to the people you trust the most. You are able to adjust these settings under the privacy tab.
It is always important to keep in mind that any application can be targeted by hackers. Major security breaches are always possible and it is important that you stay updated and take the necessary precautions to keep yourself safe. Are you worried about your mobile or personal security? Book an appointment today to talk with one of our cybersecurity experts on how you can improve your security!