The tight security on WhatsApp is one of its most attractive and beneficial features, but perhaps the messaging app itself is not as secure as users think.
Reported by The Sun, Tuesday (12/1/2020), there are several simple features that can make user chats less secure and vulnerable or risk causing accounts to be hacked, tricked or exposed.
Here are three simple features that can make user chat less secure:
1. Images are saved by default
The default setting of pictures and videos that users send automatically downloaded to the device, is not always a good idea. The image can act like a “Trojan horse” and contains code that allows hackers to hijack the user’s phone.
The image may be safe if the user views it in the WhatsApp application, but if the user saves it on the device, the user could potentially run into problems.
Users should also be alert if someone they don’t know starts sending unwanted files.
To prevent this, users can disable the default image saving settings by going to Settings> Chats> then turning off the Save to Camera Roll option.
2. iCloud backup on WhatsApp
The iCloud backup option on WhatsApp doesn’t offer end-to-end encryption because once chats are moved to iCloud it will be Apple’s responsibility. This means that if something happens, law enforcement can ask to see the chat and it can be assigned to the legal authority.
Not only that, chats that are not encrypted after being backed up in iCloud also allow cyber criminals to hack into iCloud and see the chats.
Even so, Apple claims to have its own method of keeping user data safe.
3. Missing messages
Disappearing messages is a new feature made by WhatsApp. This feature allows users to send messages that disappear after a certain amount of time.
It works much like Snapchat messages, increasing user privacy by eliminating potentially sensitive messages.
When the user enables this feature on WhatsApp, the messages will disappear after seven days. Although messages sent before the settings are changed will not be affected.
However, there are ways someone can still own the user’s message before it is deleted.
First, message previews can still be displayed in the notification until the WhatsApp application is opened. Second, if the user’s message is quoted, the quoted text is still in the chat.
Third, if the missing message is forwarded to the chat with the feature setting disabled, it will not be deleted. Fourth, if the user creates a backup before the message disappears, it will be included in the backup. However, the message will be deleted if the user restores WhatsApp from the backup.
One can also forward or take a screenshot of the message that disappeared before it was deleted. Other users can also copy and save the contents of the missing messages. And it is possible to take a photo of the message using the camera before the message disappears.
Fortunately, users can disable this feature in WhatsApp’s settings by going to Settings> Data and Storage Usage.
The best advice before using this feature is to consider whether sensitive messages are worth sending or not. As they could endanger the user in the future.