Security and Privacy Features of WhatsApp on Android and iOS

Security and Privacy Features of WhatsApp on Android and iOS

WhatsApp has become a fundamental communication tool in our lives, allowing us to chat with people anywhere in the world, regardless of the distance. Its popularity has caused the service itself to have put in place different mechanisms to guarantee security and privacy in its use, such as end-to-end message encryption and the possibility of activating two-step verification. Understanding and using these functions is essential. Next, we will talk about the latest developments in this regard since it has incorporated several functions throughout this year.

Account protection, device verification, and automatic security codes

One of the main security measures that WhatsApp offers is the protection of your personal messages with end-to-end encryption. This means that when sent, they become secret codes that can only be understood by the person who receives them. 

This way, not even the company itself can read your messages. In addition, for some time now, it has also been possible to activate two-step verification, hide notifications, see who can see your statuses, etc., which are very useful functions to guarantee the privacy and security of the user when using the application. 

However, they are not the only measures implemented since, throughout this year, 2023, WhatsApp has added more functions that you do not need to configure since they are implicit if you have the latest version of it installed, and they are the following.

  1. Account protection: If you want to transfer your WhatsApp account from your device to a new one, WhatsApp needs you to verify your identity. To do this, it will ask you to confirm this action from your previous device as an additional security measure. This feature is designed to alert you if someone makes an unauthorized attempt to set up your number on another device.
  2. Device verification: Currently, malware on mobile devices represents one of the main concerns since it can take control of your phone without your consent and use WhatsApp to send unwanted messages, for example. This function identifies and blocks possible attackers’ connection attempts to the device, allowing the user to use the app without interruptions. This system authenticates the user’s account, preventing third parties from intercepting that authentication key, taking over the budget, and distributing malware through chat.
  3. Automatic security codes: Like the previous ones, this function has been implemented automatically without you having to configure anything, this means that, when you click on the encryption option by clicking on the contact in the conversation, you will be able to verify that it is safe. Each user’s keys are collected in a public WhatsApp directory, and this application checks if the user’s encryption key matches the one stored, verifying its authenticity.

How to use the new reinforcement for your privacy in the most personal conversations?

They have called it chat blocking, and it serves to add a layer of protection and privacy to your messages; in this way, your conversations are moved to a folder that you can only access using your password or biometric data. It also prevents notifications from said chat from being displayed.

To block a chat, follow these steps:

Step 1: Open the app and go to your chats.

Step 2: Tap on the name of the person or group.

Step 3: Select the ‘Block chats’ option.

Step 4: Confirm that you want to use the ‘Face ID’ or a password to access those conversations with the user or group.

Once the previous steps have been completed, you will be able to see the blocked chats in the chats tab, specifically in a folder whose name is precisely ‘Blocked Chats.’

How to silence calls from strangers?

Another interesting function added is the one that allows you to silence calls from strangers. These calls will not show you notifications, although you will have them recorded in your history in case you need to review them.

To activate this feature, follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Open the app and go to ‘Settings’ on iOS and ‘Settings’ on Android.
  • Step 2: Click on the ‘Privacy’ option.
  • Step 3: Go to the ‘Calls’ section and activate the option: ‘Silence calls from unknown numbers.’

What function allows us to know all the privacy options in WhatsApp simply?

Additionally, WhatsApp has incorporated a new functionality that allows us to quickly check all privacy settings. This function guides the user step by step through the different options in one place.

To use it, follow these steps:

  • Step 1: From the WhatsApp app, go to ‘Settings’ on iOS or ‘Settings’ on Android.
  • Step 2: Click on ‘Privacy’.
  • Step 3: Once there, a box will be displayed at the top that will allow us to ‘Start
  •  Step 4: Review each of the four sections that you will find, to make the privacy settings that you consider most appropriate in relation to Who can contact you through groups, calls, and messages:
  • How it controls your personal information by indicating who can see your profile photo, your online status, or when you read messages in a conversation.
  • Provide more privacy to your chats by making messages disappear after a time you define, not showing notifications with them, and encrypting backup copies of your conversations.
  • Add protection to your account, including blocking the application through some mechanism, such as biometrics, to prevent anyone from accessing your conversations if your phone is unlocked and activate two-step verification, a PIN that WhatsApp will ask you to register your phone number on another device.

Do you know WhatsApp channels?

This is a section where WhatsApp allows users and entities to spread news to large audiences. It is a form of one-way communication where followers can interact with publications using emoticons. As it could not be otherwise, we must be cautious with this functionality or service offered by the application since the content that is shared is visible to all those subscribed to the channel, and the information can be viewed, saved, virtualized, etc. 

Think before publishing content; it will help you avoid problems. Additionally, keep in mind that if you are going to use it, you must comply with the rules set by WhatsApp, such as not sharing illegal content, which could cause serious harm to people or fraud, among others.

Sending photos and videos in a single view

The single view ( View Once, in English), a functionality that has been available for some time but we thought it was important to highlight, allows users to manage their privacy more responsibly since the content sent can only be opened once by the recipient and will be removed from the chat after viewing, so it will not allow it to be saved on the device of the user who receives it.

To send files or images in a single view:

  • Step 1: Within a WhatsApp conversation, we take a photo or choose the file we want to send from the gallery.
  • Step 2: In the chat, a preview of the file or photo selected for sending will appear.
  • Step 3: We will mark the circle in which ‘1’ appears within the field that allows entering text, located on the right. After doing so, the message ‘Photo set to view once’ will appear.
  • Step 4: Afterwards, the file can be sent so that it can only be viewed once.

All the mentioned features are available in recent versions of WhatsApp and provide greater privacy to users through simple settings. Did you know them? We encourage you to carefully review each of them so that you have your security and privacy under control when you use this application.

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