the tricks you need to use the ‘app’ safely


Madrid

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WhatsApp It is, without a doubt, one of the most widely used digital tools in the world; So when it doesn’t work properly, as it did last week, it seems to some that the world is collapsing. Facebook-owned messaging app has 2 billion users, which has ended up making it something little less than essential in some areas of the world. In addition, it counts the most secure encryption that exists; which is the one that goes from end to end. The same that Signal uses, and something better, on paper, than the one that Telegram has in a generic way.

Despite this, as with everything on the Internet, WhatsApp security can be improved. This is how, for example, the
National Cybersecurity Institute (Incibe)
, which shares some of the adjustments that must be made to do so.

Encryption

Each chat we make with another contact has a unique security code made up of 60 digits. Your goal is confirm that any communication (calls or messages) that takes place in that conversation is end-to-end encrypted. In addition, it appears collected in a QR code.

To check this, the two users must be together and click on our contact name or options (3-dot icon), and then ‘View contact’. After this, you will have to select ‘Encryption’ to see our QR codes or the 60 digits. Then, we will only have to scan the code to point to the device of our contact and verify it. When scanning it, a green tick will appear, confirming that no one is intercepting our messages or calls with this contact. “It is a way for users to make sure that our conversations are safe,” they say from Incibe.

Always in two steps

The two-step authentication in WhatsApp it offers the user an extra layer of security that can prevent a cybercriminal from stealing the account. At the time it is active, any attempt to verify our phone number must be accompanied by a 6-digit PIN code. To enable it, we will only have to access Settings> Account> Two-step verification and select ‘Activate’. Then, we will have to create a six-digit password that will serve us to authenticate ourselves.

In case you need it at some point and have forgotten it, the service will send a link to the user’s email account. “If we fail to authenticate correctly, the WhatsApp account could be blocked for 7 days as a security measure in case of not authenticating correctly,” they recall from Incibe.

What to share

WhatsApp allows you to select what information we want to share with other users. From the ‘Privacy’ section, contained in ‘Settings’ or ‘Configuration’, the Internet user can select who can see your last connection time, profile photo or status. You can also select the users who can add you to a group and disable read receipts. That is, the blue ‘tick’ that shows that we have read a message. “If we deactivate them, there will only be a gray tick and a double gray tick to indicate that the message has been sent and received, but we will never know if the recipient has read it,” they recall from Incibe.

Don’t be disturbed

In the event that a contact is giving us problems, or that we have detected that a third party is trying to ‘hack’ or steal our WhatsApp account, the best thing the user can do is report or block that number. For it, We will only have to ‘click’ on the name of the contact and go down to the end, where we will select ‘Block’ or ‘Report contact‘. «From here we can also silence the notifications of this contact. In this way, we will silence any activity within the chat and it will not appear in the form of notifications on our mobile device. It is very useful for WhatsApp groups with a lot of activity “, they say from the National Institute of Cybersecurity.

Delete conversations

WhatsApp, like any social network, acts as a disaster drawer in which all the privacy of a user fits. That’s why it’s important empty chats or delete some of the data it contains from time to time. “In this way, in case of loss or theft of our mobile device, we will ensure that third parties cannot access our conversations, personal data or multimedia files exchanged with our contacts,” they express from Incibe in this regard.

To do this you have to go to Settings> Chats> Chat history. From here we can select ‘Empty all chats’ or ‘Delete all chats’. The first option will allow us to clean a chat without deleting the conversation, while the second will delete it completely.

Temporary messages

The possibility of programming the self-destruction of a message is one of the most interesting news that the messaging application has received in recent months. Thanks to this option, the Internet user can set up a conversation so that all messages you send to a specific contact disappear after seven days. However, it must be taken into account that the other user could always take screenshots or perform other types of actions to prevent the chats from disappearing.

Be that as it may, to activate the option you only have to select the contact by clicking on the conversation and look for the ‘Temporary messages’ section. After this, we will select ‘Continue’ and ‘Activated’ to enable the function.

Fewer downloads

In WhatsApp, multimedia files, such as photos or videos, are downloaded by default and stored on the ‘smartphone’ when we receive them through a chat. This not only causes the storage of the device to end up overflowing because of a lot of unnecessary information. Too can make it easier for a cybercriminal to ‘hack’ the terminal by sending malicious code camouflaged in a file. “To avoid downloading a file with malware, it is advisable to modify this option,” they say from Incibe. To change it, go to Settings> Storage and data, and in ‘Automatic download’ select ‘No file’ in the sections of ‘Download with mobile data’, ‘Download with Wi-Fi’ and ‘In data roaming’.

Download the information

This function allows request information through a report with our settings and the data of our WhatsApp account. «It is useful to know exactly all the personal information that we have shared with the application, as well as to have a copy of our configuration, groups to which we belong, and other information such as name, associated telephone number, IP address of our last connection, devices and operating system used, etc ”, points out the National Institute of Cybersecurity.

To achieve this you have to go to Settings> Account> Request info. from my account. After this, you have to select ‘Request report’. It takes approximately 3 days to be available.

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