The level of privacy and security that WhatsApp affords its users came under cloud after the influential British daily, the Guardian, published a report claiming that the world's biggest chat application has a "backdoor" in its vaunted messaging encryption system and is therefore not as fully secure as WhatsApp has led its users to believe. WhatsApp has denied the charge and has been backed by security experts who vouch for the Signal security model WhasApp currently employs.
Here are some privacy and security features that you can use to make your WhatsApp experience safer and smoother.
1. Turn on the security notification
Under the 'Security' menu in the settings, you will find the toggle which says "Turn on the security notification." If you turn that on you will receive a message when a contact's security code has changed. This would indicate that the person has switched her or his phone or SIM card. In case, you have any doubts you can check with the person or notify WhatsApp.
WhatsApp introduced end-to-end encryption last year for all its chats and calls. Users do not need to switch on any settings for this but they must have the latest version of WhatsApp. You will receive a message in your chat if the messages are not getting encrypted.
3. Two Factor Authentication
This newly introduced feature lets you set a code for your WhatsApp account tied with your number. This will make hacking the account tougher as the hacker will need the code along with the OTP sent on your number to set up the account again on your new phone. To switch on the two-factor authentication, go to Settings>Accounts>Two-factor authentication>Enable.
4. Turn off the read receipts
Annoyed by the people asking you "Why did you not reply?" when they see that their sent message has the blue double marks. You can turn it off by going to Settings> Accounts> Privacy> Turn off the read receipts. But bear in mind that after turning them off you also won't be able to see the 'blue ticks' for your sent messages either.
5. Stop people from seeing the 'last seen'
WhatsApp has this feature where you can see when the person was last online. And, sometimes people might bug you if they see the timestamp. You can go to Settings>Accounts>Privacy to turn off the 'Last seen' timestamp.
6. Manage blocked contacts
Often on WhatsApp, you will encounter people who are harassing you. Or, it could even be a friend who is a little too insistent. WhatsApp allows you to block them so they can't send you messages. You can manage your blocked contacts in the 'Privacy' menu under 'Accounts' as well.