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WhatsApp security hole makes private chats readable by third parties — but you can protect yourself

WhatsApp security hole makes private chats readable by third parties — but you can protect yourself

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WhatsApp conversations can be read by third parties. There are some steps you can take to reduce the risk. We’ll show you how it works.

Munich – Correspondence Service WhatsApp Millions of people around the world use it to exchange text or voice messages, photos and videos. Recently, it was announced that several new features are planned for WhatsApp, and the classic function is also being changed. But using “WhatsApp Web” – that is, transferring chats to a laptop or PC – can bring risks.

These risks are not only due to WhatsApp fraud, which may lead to some phone numbers not being accepted. Your privacy may also be at risk: careless use may allow third parties to read your conversations. Here you will find information on how to protect yourself.

WhatsApp vulnerability: Third parties gain insights into private chats

WhatsApp users should be happy with this feature. Because it makes chatting easier. The QR code, which can also be shared in chats, replaces the previous backup of data on Google Drive and allows you to quickly switch between devices — and easily use the messaging service from your computer. This is especially useful for users who prefer typing on a computer keyboard. But this convenience comes with a security vulnerability. If you’re not careful, you could allow third parties to read your chats.

To use WhatsApp Web, the smartphone must be connected to the computer. To do this, the QR code of the web app is scanned on the web.whatsapp.com website using the smartphone – and the devices are then paired. Users can access the menu via the messaging service app on their smartphone – simply select WhatsApp Web, tap the plus icon to activate the camera and scan the displayed QR code. All chats are then displayed on the computer screen.

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Third parties can read your WhatsApp Web chats. To do this, simply scan the web app's QR code with your smartphone and the devices will then be paired. © WhatsApp.com/Screenshot

Do you leave your smartphone unattended? Third parties can now read your WhatsApp conversations

But there’s a big problem with this type of use: anyone who gets their hands on your smartphone, even for a short time, has the opportunity to access your chats via WhatsApp Web. Leaving your smartphone unattended for a few moments may be enough. Anyone who scans the QR code will have instant access to your messages. However, there are ways to protect yourself from this unwanted access.

By the way, you can easily find out if you have already become a “victim” of third-party access to your conversations. You can see the web applications that are paired with your smartphone in the “WhatsApp Web” menu item in WhatsApp settings. There you can quickly remove any web applications that you did not enter yourself.

You can see the chat history on WhatsApp messenger.
WhatsApp users should be wary of security vulnerabilities. © Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/dpa

WhatsApp Web: How to Protect Yourself from Potential Security Risks

Users can protect themselves from potential security risks with some simple measures:

  • Keep an eye on your smartphone: Never leave your cell phone unattended, especially in public or shared places.
  • Password protection: Enable password protection on your smartphone. This will prevent strangers from unlocking your phone and scanning the QR code.
  • Sign out via browser version: Open the menu in the WhatsApp browser version at the top of the chat list (three dots at the top right) and select the “Log out” option.
  • Always log out: Log out of WhatsApp Web after each use. To do this, go to “Settings” in the app and select “WhatsApp Web”. There you can see which devices you’re logged in on and log out if necessary.
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Meanwhile, WhatsApp recently gave its users a 30-day grace period, after which important chats and data will be deleted. (x)