WhatsApp is currently the most widely used messaging platform, with an estimated 2000 million active monthly users in the data published by Statista in October 2021.
But its popularity makes it a prime target for cybercriminals attempting to gain access to users’ accounts using SIM swap and other methods.
Despite implementing security measures such as encrypted backups and chats, these measures are insufficient in protecting users against such attacks.
As a solution, the messaging giant is introducing three new security features to enhance the platform’s security and better safeguard users’ accounts.
Users will no be required to enter a one-time password (OTP) sent to your number for verification when switching to a new device.
Unless you have two-step authentication enabled, a hacker could easily gain access to your WhatsApp account using a SIM swap attack or if they can somehow get the OTP.
Account Protect aims to avoid this.
WhatsApp will also send a prompt on your old device to verify that you really are switching devices. This additional step will help thwart hackers trying to gain unauthorized access to your account.
Malicious software and trojans pose a constant threat to mobile devices as they can corrupt the device, extract the WhatsApp authentication key, and misuse it to send undesired messages to contacts.
To counter this, WhatsApp has introduced a feature called Device Verification, which conducts additional checks in the background to authenticate the account.
To learn more about how Device Verification works, refer to the provided resource by Meta.
Automatic Security Codes
For quite some time, WhatsApp has offered the option to authenticate the security code of a conversation to guarantee that it’s end-to-end encrypted.
However, this can be time-consuming as it involves scanning a QR code and confirming the contents with the receiver, or manually ensuring that both parties have the same 60-digit hash key.
To simplify this process, the messaging application owned by Meta is introducing Key Transparency.
With this feature, users will be able to confirm immediately if a chat is encrypted when they tap the encryption tab. You will still need to scan a QR code, but you won’t have to verify its content with the message recipient.
When will you receive these updates?
These new security features are already rolling out, so they should appear for you sooner than later. Just make sure you have the latest version of the messaging app installed.