Having any of your digital accounts hacked must count as one of the scariest things ever on the digital world we live in today. If your WhatsApp got hacked, that can be a big problem, especially if you use the instant messaging app for critical communication with family, friends, co-workers, and clients, or customers.
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How to prevent your WhatsApp getting hacked
Every day in this world, someone’s WhatsApp account gets hacked and it is usually avoidable. Here are a few things you can do to tighten the security on your WhatsApp account.
Set up two-step verification: two-step verification requires you to create and secure your WhatsApp account with a six-digit PIN, so every time anyone tries to login to your account on a new smartphone, that PIN is required. As such, a hacker will not have that PIN and so it is more difficult for them to gain access and control.
To setup two-step verification, open your WhatsApp account, got to the Settings menu > Tap Account > Two-step verification > Enable. Enter a six-digit PIN of your choice and confirm it. There is also the option to provide an email address. You can tap Skip if you don’t want to add an email address. Two-step verification is now active. Be sure to not forget your PIN.
Don’t give unsupervised access of your phone to other people. Physical access is the easiest way anyone can hack your WhatsApp account. With physical access to your phone, someone can quickly setup your account on another phone, because they will be able to access the OTP sent to your cellular or mobile number. Do not give your phone to someone else and not keep an eye on what they are doing with it.
Having addressed these preventive tips, let’s get to recovering a hacked WhatsApp account.
How to recover your hacked WhatsApp account
If you suspect that your WhatsApp account has been hacked, you can retrieve it in less than 10 minutes by following these simple steps:
- Uninstall the WhatsApp app from your smartphone.
- Go to the Google Play Store or Apple Store and download the WhatsApp app again.
- Launch the app and enter the phone number associated with your hacked account. You should use the SIM card that was originally associated with the account.
- WhatsApp will send a six-digit code to your phone number via SMS. Enter this code into the app to log in to your account.
After completing these steps, you will be automatically logged out of any other devices that were using your account.
If you are asked to provide a two-step verification code that you did not set up, it means the hacker activated this feature. You will need to wait 7 days before you can sign in without the two-step verification code.
It is important to remember that the hacker will be automatically logged out of your account as soon as you log in with the six-digit SMS code. During this time, the hacker will not be able to access your account or continue any chats with your contacts.
As such, even if you are unable to use your WhatsApp account for another 7 days (in the situation that the hacker activated two-step verification), you have effectively locked out the hacker too and taken back ownership of your WhatsApp account. That is a big deal, as you do not have to worry about what damage the hacker could be causing with your account. But what do you have to do after the 7 days have passed?
Regain access after 7 days after failed two-step verification
Once the 7-day wait period ends, here is what you have to do to be able to get back into your WhatsApp account and resume using it.
Open the WhatsApp app > tap Forgot PIN? > Reset.
This will allow you enter a new PIN for protecting your account from intruders and for gaining access. If you had two-step verification in place initially, it would have been difficult for your account to get hacked or taken over by a malicious actor. So, keep two-step verification active. It is for your own good.
After you have reset your account’s PIN, proceed to login to your WhatsApp account. Welcome back.