WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging applications around. What made it so famous was that it was the first mobile app to offer free messaging. It has even overshadowed SMS, as the user doesn’t have to worry about character count anymore. They can type 15 characters or 500 without concerns of split messages. The limit is actually over 65,000 characters, so there is no need to worry there.
Another thing the users don’t have to worry about is the username. WhatsApp doesn’t need it. It connects to your cellphone number, so you’ll appear to the other users under the same name they assigned you in their contacts list.
Unfortunately, hackers can infiltrate your WhatsApp account. When this happens, you may wonder what you can do to get your account back and secure it to prevent future issues. This article explains what to do if your account becomes compromised and helps you protect it in the future.
How to Tell if Your Account is Compromised
One of the key indicators that your WhatsApp account is compromised is seeing contacts that aren’t yours. WhatsApp is so intuitive that it will add your contacts when you log in on a new device. Another sign is, of course, messages that you didn’t send. If you open WhatsApp and see suspicious messages, someone is likely using your account.
Another tell-tale sign of a compromised WhatsApp account is odd communications from the company. For example, you may have received an email about a change on your account. If you’ve received something like this, it’s a good idea to take action immediately.
Lastly, the company may have gotten hacked. This situation is usually a wide-scale attack that compromises users’ data. Unfortunately, there isn’t a great way to detect this type of activity. Regardless, WhatsApp will send you notifications that your account may have gotten compromised.
For more information, here’s how to recognize suspicious activity on WhatsApp.
What To Do If Your WhatsApp Account gets Hacked
Now that you’ve discovered ways to figure out if your account got hacked, it’s time to learn how to take action. Remember, you’ll want to act quickly to protect your private information and regain control of your account.
Notify Your Contacts
One of the newer scams is hackers asking for a verification code while pretending to be your contact. Due to the nature of WhatsApp’s security features, all you need is a phone number and verification code to log in.
When someone compromises your WhatsApp account, they can send messages to your contacts stating that the company sent a verification code and then gain access to their account. That’s why one of the first things you’ll want to do is send a message to your friends and family, letting them know that you’ve lost access to your account. This action prevents further exploitation of your account and others.
Another reason you’ll want to let your contacts know you have no access to your WhatsApp account is that they may fish for your personal information. From your banking number to your email address, hackers will cleverly attempt to gain as much access to your personal information as possible.
Don’t Logout and Log Back In If You’re Receiving Verification Codes
While this may seem a little odd, one of the methods hackers are using is verification codes to lock you out so they can gain access. This action works because WhatsApp only allows so many verification codes to get sent at a time. When the hacker uses all of your attempts, you’ll have to wait 12 hours to receive another one. But, the hacker is more prepared than you are, so they’ll get the codes and log into your account. They are effectively locking you out.
If you receive multiple WhatsApp texts with verification codes, it’s best to ignore them. Continue to use your WhatsApp account as you usually would.
Things to Know for the Future
Regardless of horror stories about hacking, you can prevent many hacker attacks from occurring in the first place. In most cases, people unknowingly give hackers access to their devices when they open an infected message or some other piece of content sent from a suspicious source.
If you ever receive a message from an unknown number or a suspicious link, be sure to avoid opening it. The same goes for app installations. You should block all installations from unknown sources. The Play Store has an option that allows you to do this.
Public and unsecured networks are another thing you should use with care. Users should avoid public networks because they’re often unsafe.
If all else fails, it’s best to lock WhatsApp on your phone with an app locker or just deactivate your WhatsApp account.
Let Others Know
If you find out you’ve been hacked before someone asks you about strange activity from your account, be sure to tell them and post it on as many social networks as you possibly can. Also, don’t forget to report the issue to WhatsApp, as they will most likely help you take further action.
When all is said and done, you probably shouldn’t worry too much. In all likelihood, you aren’t the main target of these attacks, at least if you’re not giving away too much information on social media. Try to share less and just focus on the social aspect of these apps. Also, don’t forget to take preventive action, such as locking WhatsApp, just for the sake of security.
Hacked WhatsApp FAQs
Can a hacker see my messages?
No. According to WhatsApp, all messages are stored on your device and not in a cloud service. Even though messages get stored on your device, they are protected by end-to-end encryption. If someone does gain unlawful access to your account, they won’t see any of your previous conversations.
How do I know if my WhatsApp account got hacked?
First, check if your battery life has dropped significantly. If so, this may be a sign.
See if the amount of internet data used up by your phone has increased for seemingly no reason. If so, there’s a chance you got hacked, even if it’s with another app.
As you probably already know, your phone’s temperature increases if it’s under increased pressure. However, if you’re not using any large, resource-heavy apps, at least at the moment, and your phone heats up regardless, you should consider spyware the possible suspect.
What else can I do if my WhatsApp account gets hacked?
Besides notifying friends and family of the hack and staying logged in to WhatsApp when receiving activation codes, it is a good idea to disable WhatsApp Web.
There’s an option labeled “Log out of all computers” that you should use. The feature also has a list of the devices where you last used your account so you can see if you don’t recognize any. The only problem with this method is that it gets based on the server you’re connected to, and VPNs also send the wrong location information. Regardless, location details can be a surefire sign of an unauthorized user in your account, mainly when you verify where you’ve logged in based on what your device sends in the way of information.
App lockers are an additional consideration, helping you lock any app on your smartphone. This way, hackers will have to unlock your phone before further attacking it. There are also lockers specifically intended for WhatsApp.
Last but not least, try enabling two-step verification in the Account settings for an additional layer of protection.
I need more help. Is there a phone number I can call to contact WhatsApp?
Perhaps you aren’t tech-savvy, or the hacker dealt a massive blow to your account. Unfortunately, WhatsApp does not have a phone number you can call (similar to many online platforms today). But, if you do need more help, use the WhatsApp Contact Us page to report any issues you’re having and receive assistance from the support team.
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