WhatsApp, hackers can “steal” your account: the Police alarm

Police sound the alarm: don't share your WhatsApp activation code with your friends, it's actually hackers

Despite the many security measures put in place by WhatsApp developers to protect users' personal data, there are cases where hackers can manage to steal a person's account using a technique we've already talked about: sending the activation code. This is not the first time we talk about this problem, but now the alarm is launched directly by the Police via the social account Commissariato di PS Online - Italia.

The Police, in addition to describing how the technique works with which hackers try to steal users' account, also provide useful tips on how to defend against this type of attacks. Recall, also, that WhatsApp is also developing a new feature called Protect Backup that allows you to protect users from the attempts of hackers. By setting a password for WhatsApp's automatic backup, no person will be able to download it, even if they get hold of the account. This is how hackers manage to steal WhatsApp account.

How the WhatsApp "activation code" scam works

Let's start with the basics. When you activate a WhatsApp account on a new smartphone, after entering your phone number the app asks you to enter a numeric code that is sent via SMS. This is a kind of two-factor authentication to make sure no one is trying to steal your account.

Unfortunately, hackers have learned to use this technique to their advantage. How? Very simple: they study the behaviors of the person whose account they want to steal and manage to get the phone number of one of the friends. After getting the number, they send a message to the user asking him to send the activation code that will be sent to him via SMS. Several excuses are made that convince the victim to share the code. And here's where the mistake is made: in reality, those numbers are nothing more than the activation code of one's WhatsApp account. Once sent to the hackers, you lose control of your profile.

How to defend yourself from hacker attack

The State Police also provide useful tips to follow to protect your WhatsApp account from the attempts of scammers. First and foremost, you should never share with anyone, not even those who appear to be your friends or family members, the WhatsApp activation code that is sent to you via SMS. Even if you have little experience with the world of computing and are not familiar with how the applications work, you should not send anyone any code that arrives on your smartphone.

Also, enable "two-factor verification", a tool present within WhatsApp and that forces any user to enter a six-digit code chosen by us every time you do something new with the messaging application.

Also, as we have already said, WhatsApp is developing a new feature, called "Protect Backup", which allows you to enter a password to your backup. This way, if some malicious person manages to access your WhatsApp profile from their device, they won't be able to download your message history because they don't have access to the backup.