Hearing about someone’s account getting hacked is no news in today’s time. There seems to be an increase in the number of hacking incidents taking place. Since such occurrences are becoming common, it is only natural to worry about your social media accounts getting hacked.
Being one of the most used apps, WhatsApp accounts and chats carry a high chance of getting hacked. If WhatsApp isn’t working or you find out that WhatsApp isn’t working specifically on iPhones, it can cause havoc since many of us depend on it.
So, getting back to the topic, if you are also wondering whether someone has hacked your WhatsApp account, worry not, as we have covered you. In this article, we will discuss how to know if someone has hacked into your WhatsApp account and the possible methods for the hacker to hack your WhatsApp account. We will also explain how you can keep your account secured. So without wasting another minute, let’s jump right in!
How to Know if Someone’s Hacking your WhatsApp Account or Chat?
Even though there is a certain limit to which the hacker can hack your WhatsApp account, there is no telling how experienced a hacker can be. Despite a limit on being able to hack into someone’s WhatsApp account, there’s no doubt about how damaging hacking is.
The hacker can go through your confidential data (which, even as I write about it, can be nerve-wracking) and also get access to your personal chats. One won’t even want to imagine the hacker making misuse of the data. So now to the main question – how can one know if someone has hacked into your account or is trying to? Let’s find out.
- Check your WhatsApp activity: If anything seems unusual to you, like your log-in activity from a device that you don’t recognize, it is enough of a red flag to go ahead and look at it.
- Pay attention to new and random messages: It often happens that we receive messages from unknown numbers that turn out to be either misunderstandings or our long-lost friends. However, if you are getting such messages constantly, then it can be a hacker trying to get a hold of your WhatsApp account by interacting with you.
- Go through your contact list: There are thousands of numbers that get changed and then passed on to other new customers every day. And if you had such a number saved that no longer belongs to the same person, and you are receiving messages from it, it can be troublesome.
- Check your Linked Devices on WhatsApp: If you have your WhatsApp account logged in on various devices, but there is an unknown device linked to it, it can be the hacker.
- Look for newly added friends: We come across people and connect with them instantly. So instant that we end up sharing our numbers. However, the same people can turn out to be a hacker. The hacker can access your account by getting added to your contact list as well.
So these were the possible ways through which a hacker can hack your WhatsApp account. Now, let’s see what are the methods that can lead to the outcome of getting the WhatsApp account hacked.
What are the Possible Methods for Someone to Hack my WhatsApp Account?
There are numerous ways that a hacker uses to hack people’s accounts. Unfortunately, new ways are emerging every day for hacking and scamming which is dangerous. You just tap on a message to open it, and boom! You can’t access your own account anymore. Sucks, right?
But how did the hacker do it? Where did you leave the loose ends? Let’s see what might’ve happened.
- Using Social Media: We all love to dive into the social media world all day long, don’t we? But it can make things troublesome for us. The nefarious individuals out there can take advantage of it and get into our accounts by hacking.
- Remote Code Execution via GIF: In 2019, a vulnerability was discovered by a security researcher Awakened. It was about how hackers can take control of WhatsApp using a GIF picture. A hacker can take advantage of the user when they visit their photos to share a media file. Even though the problem was later solved by Facebook after it was notified by Awakened, the hackers still lurk around to find similar ways.
Note: To avoid this error, make sure WhatsApp is updated to version 2.19.244 or higher.
- Using WhatsApp Clone on another device: A hacker will try to get into your WhatsApp account by installing a clone of WhatsApp that looks quite identical to the genuine app. The users are sent a link to download a certain app and once they do so, the app begins collecting their data from WhatsApp and their device as well.
- Pegasus Attack: The Pegasus technique allows hackers to have access to the device of their victims by making a WhatsApp voice call to them. And even if the victim doesn’t respond to the call, they may still get successful without the victim being aware of the placed malware.
- Using third-party apps on your device: There are apps that may easily break into your WhatsApp account and steal your personal information. All that the hacker has to do is buy the app, install it, and turn it on the target phone. They can have access to private WhatsApp data such as messages, contacts, and status updates. However, we strongly caution against anybody doing so!
- Media File Attack: In this attack, the media sent and received by the users such as movies and images of the device’s external storage is misused. It starts with changing the original item to a fake one. This way the hacker changes the received item to a phony one and once it’s downloaded, your device and its data are in the hands of the hacker.
- Using WhatsApp Web: As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure, if you have ever encountered an unusual login with an unrecognizable device, then it is possible that your own tiny mistake landed you there. If you have used WhatsApp Web on a friend’s device and didn’t log out, your data can be misused by them. They can tap on “keep me signed in” and even after you exit the browser, your account will remain signed in on their devices, thus, leading to unfavorable consequences.
Now that we know what and how a hacker can do to get to your WhatsApp account and hack it, let’s look at the steps one can follow to recover the account.
Steps to Recover a Hacked WhatsApp Account
In order to be ready and prepared for any hacking incident to occur, you should make sure to enable all the security features that are provided to you by WhatsApp. Thankfully, there’s a way to secure and get back your hacked WhatsApp account. You need not worry as we have got you some pretty easy steps with the help of which you can easily recover your hacked WhatsApp account.
Log off WhatsApp Web
- Open WhatsApp and tap on Settings from the bottom right side.
- Then select Linked Devices from the options.
- Tap on the device that you want to log out from.
- After that, a pop-out will appear, tap on log-out.
Request for Account Deactivation
If removing WhatsApp Web didn’t work for you, and you’re sure that your WhatsApp is hacked, it may be important to deactivate your WhatsApp account. However, before moving ahead with the deactivation, you must reach out to your known contacts and let them know that your account has been hacked. Now let’s get started with the steps for the process:
- Open the email app from your phone.
- Send the message to the email address [email protected] and enter the following text in the email body: “Lost/Stolen: Please deactivate my account”.
- Make sure that you include your phone number along with the country and the area code.
Note: After the deactivation of your WhatsApp account, you will have a 30 days time limit to reactivate it if you can. All of your account’s data will be deleted permanently after the time period completes.
Reset the Factory Settings of Your Phone
It is possible that rather than a hacker, an unsafe app may have got access to your WhatsApp and so it won’t be necessary to have your account deactivated or even log out of the linked devices.
In case you use third-party apps, they can contain viruses and bugs which can corrupt your WhatsApp, leading you to think that it has been hacked.
Hence, in scenarios like these, you have to perform a system restore. The steps to take for the factory reset procedure are as follows:
|Solution Synopsis: Settings < Backup and Reset < Factory Data Reset < Reset Phone < Erase Data|
Now with the help of the above methods, your WhatsApp should work normally without making you wonder whether it has been hacked or not.
Ways to Secure a WhatsApp Account and its Chats
Even though WhatsApp claims to have its settings and chats be encrypted so that there are no third-party interruptions in the chat, pictures, audio, and the whole data of the users. There are still some loose ends left in the security and thus, the hackers can make use of it to breach into the accounts of people. They can also end up misusing the information of the people which can lead to bad circumstances and consequences. One of the most helpful ways for the security of WhatsApp is enabling two-factor authentication. Let’s see what are the steps for the procedure:
- Open WhatsApp and tap on Settings.
- Tap on Account.
- Go to Two-Step Verification.
- Then tap on Enable.
- Enter a strong 6-digit pin that you prefer.
- Then a page confirming “Enabling Two-Step Verification” will appear.
- You can also enter the recovery email address or change your pin.
Note: You can tap on Disable if you no longer wish to have the two-step verification option. If you want to change your pin, then tap on Change PIN and select Change Email Address if you switch your recovery email address.
Even though setting up the two-factor authentication feature on WhatsApp is optional, it adds an extra layer of security to your WhatsApp account.
- Don’t leave your phone unattended in public places.
- Keep your chats to yourself.
- Do not log in to devices that aren’t familiar.
- Turn on two-step verification.