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Leaked Drug Chats Brings The Question: Is WhatsApp Secure? And How To Stay Safe

The recently leaked chats of popular Bollywood actress has brought up the question- Is WhatsApp Chats Secure? If the likes of Deepika Padukone, Rhea Chakraborty, and many more can be hacked and their chats are accessed then do we even stand a chance? Can something be done to stay safe on WhatsApp? Should you start looking for a safer messaging app? Let’s find the answer to these questions here.

Also Read: How To Read Deleted WhatsApp Messages For Android Users

How Are Deleted Messages Still Available?

In WhatsApp there are two options for deleting a message- ‘Delete For Me’ and ‘Delete For Everyone’. But despite you doing any, the message isn’t deleted from everywhere. The chat is the only place from which the message is actually deleted.

Several reports have shown that locally on the device. Every message or media transfer has a trail and leaves a trace on transferred from one user to another. Even after you delete a message there are files stored in the phone having that data “forensic trace” and is often used by law enforcement agencies to retrieve information according to the cybersecurity service provider, McAfee.

This stored files/ log can be accessed by a few malicious third-party applications for the users to keep the messages forever. WhatsApp always says the conversations have end-to-end encryption so there is no chance for any loss/ stealing of data. But once it reaches the device of the receiver the threat is back. And last year’s Pegasus Espionage did show how unsafe WhatsApp data can be as thousands of phones were breached.

This certainly shows that irrespective of who you are no one is 100% safe on WhatsApp or actually anywhere on social media.

How Were The Chats Accessed By The NCB?

The NCB (Narcotics Control Board) has reportedly cloned the actress’s mobile phones. Creating a clone means creating a copy of the phone on another phone. By doing so, they can get access to all conversations and media that were transferred by the user. Even the deleted messages and media can be obtained.

WhatsApp provides end-to-end encryption. But happens on the phone is something they don’t safeguard. By taking help from several forensic experts, they have been able to gain access to the data on the phone including call records, calendar information, WhatsApp chats, stored data on the cloud, and a lot more.

What Is WhatsApp’s Response?

WhatsApp Encryption
Image Source – Quick Heal

WhatsApp has maintained its stance saying it is a very secure messaging app and provides complete end-to-end encryption.

WhatsApp protects your messages with end-to-end encryption so that only you and the person you’re communicating with can read what is sent, and nobody in between can access it, not even WhatsApp. It’s important to remember that people sign up on WhatsApp using only a phone number, and WhatsApp doesn’t have access to your message content. WhatsApp follows guidance provided by operating system manufacturers for on-device storage and we encourage people to take advantage of all the security features provided by operating systems such as strong passwords or biometric IDs to prevent third parties from accessing content stored on device. WhatsApp spokesperson

How Can You Stay Safe On WhatsApp

WhatsApp may seem to care only about the end-to-end encryption and not about the privacy of the app on your phone, but there are few settings that you can enable to stay safe on the app.

Moreover, by not opening any unknown links or unverified links you can stay secure from several attacks. Also, you must not download any random app over WhatsApp or actually any medium. They may be spyware and be actually very harmful to your phone and your data.

Turning on WhatsApp Security This is a simple way to be alerted when the security code of any contact changes. If any user is affected by any kind of attack you may be alerted and can secure yourselves from any possible threat. To do this you have to:

  • Open WhatsApp and go to settings by clicking on the three dots followed by settings.
  • Now tap on the Account option just below your name and status.
  • Now tap on the Security option.
  • Turn on the Show Security Notifications you see on the screen.

Turning on Two-Step Verification- Two-Step verification or Two-Factor authentication is another simple method to make your WhatsApp account safer. Whenever you add your WhatsApp account to a new device (desktop or mobile) the app will ask a PIN that you can set here. This happens every time you register your phone number with WhatsApp. To do this you have to:

  • Open WhatsApp and go to settings by clicking on the three dots followed by settings.
  • Now tap on the Account option just below your name and status.
  • Now tap on the Two-Step Verification option.
  • Click on the Enable option on the bottom of the screen.
  • Now you will be asked to enter a 6 digit PIN that you will be asked every time for registering your phone number. After entering the number tap on next on the bottom of the screen.
  • Now you will be asked to confirm the PIN by reentering it. After doing that tap on the Next button.
  • In this step, you will be asked to add an E-Mail address to further secure your account. It is an optional step so you can skip it.
  • Reenter the email address to confirm it and tap on the Save button.
  • You are done! Tap on Done to finish the process. You will be taken to the screen showing options to disable it, Change PIN, and Change Email Address.

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Jay Kapadia

A Wannabe Computer Science Engineer, Tech-savvy individual and a Sports Geek.

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