WhatsApp is a relatively secure application. The chats are encrypted from end to end and the messages, photos, videos, etc., are deleted from the server once they are delivered to our contacts, but all this is worth very little if we are unfortunate that someone steals our account. It is somewhat complicated, but not impossible.
There are three ways to have your WhatsApp account stolen. The first is that someone enter your number on another mobile and you make the mistake of give you the six-digit verification code you receive by SMS. The second, of course, is that they steal your mobileIn which case, if you don’t have a screen lock, your conversations will be sold. The third is that some person log into WhatsApp Web / Desktop using your mobile without you knowing and have full access to your chats. There are three complex scenarios, but the truth is that remedying them is quite simple.
My WhatsApp account has been stolen, what should I do?
Let’s start with the first scenario and suppose that for whatever you have shared the six digit verification code with the person trying to steal your account. That user already has access to your conversations, while you, who are the real user, will have been logged out of WhatsApp because, as you well know, you can only use WhatsApp on a single device at a time.
How do you remove the access? Easy, log back into WhatsApp from your mobile. Enter your number and the six-digit code that you will receive by SMS and voila, the other user will be expelled from the application and will not be able to see your chats. To prevent this from happening to you again:
- Don’t share the verification code with anyone (it’s like giving your Facebook or Instagram password to a stranger).
- Activate two-step verification. That way, whenever someone enters your phone on another device, they will have to enter an additional six-digit code that only you know, as long as you don’t share it with someone, of course.
The second scenario is that your mobile has been stolen, and here things get complicated. If you have a screen lock activated, such as fingerprint, PIN, or face unlock, the thief will have a harder time accessing it, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. There are several things that you must do if your mobile is stolen, but facing WhatsApp, you have three options:
- Lock your SIM card, so that the thief cannot receive the SMS or the call with the verification code (now you will see why).
- Email [email protected] with the subject “Lost / stolen: Please deactivate my account” and write the number in international text in the body of the text. In the case of Spain, you must add +34 to your number, for example +34 600111222.
- Talk to your operator and request a duplicate of the SIM card. This has your same number, so you only have to enter it on a mobile of a friend or family member, log in to your WhatsApp account and voila, the thief will continue to have the mobile but at least your chats will be safe. If you have blocked the previous SIM, the thief will not be able to access it again.
It is important that, in case your mobile is stolen, do step two. Even if the SIM card is blocked, if you couldn’t make a duplicate of the card, the thief will be able to continue accessing your conversations via WiFi, so it is essential that you deactivate the account. This will suspend it for 30 days, it won’t erase it completely, so you have a month to log back in and get your chats back with the Google Drive backup.
When you deactivate the account, it remains inactive for 30 days. After that time, if you do not log in, it will be deleted
We arrived at stage three, and that is someone is spying on you using WhatsApp Web or the desktop app. It is difficult to detect, although it can be done. For example, are there messages you don’t remember seeing? Has anyone seen you connected at a time when you don’t usually connect? If there are signs of suspicious activity on your account, you lose nothing by taking precautions.
To avoid problems, all you have to do is log out. Go to “Settings”> “WhatsApp Web / Desktop” and close all sessions. You will have to start it again on your computer, but if someone was watching without your knowing it, they will lose ipso facto access. The damage may have already been done, but at least you will avoid greater evils.
How to prevent your WhatsApp account from being stolen
You already know how to act in case your account is stolen, so you have to know how to protect yourself. There, WhatsApp sins of having little security by default, since, unlike the app for iOS, on Android it is not possible to configure a biometric lock to access conversations from the application itself, although you can use third-party apps.
So there are several things you can do and that will help you to shield your access to your chats a little more:
- Put a biometric screen lock, like fingerprint or face. They are more difficult to hack and can save you a hassle if your mobile is stolen.
- Activate two-step verification, so if someone tries to access your account they will have to enter a six-digit PIN before accessing the verification code by SMS.
- Periodically check the sessions you have started and close them.
- Do not share the verification code received by SMS with anyone.