9 Methods Your WhatsApp Messages Can Be Hacked
News about the hijacking of the most seemingly reliable services, such as the WhatsApp hack, break once in a while and allow us, ordinary users, to understand that there is always a loophole for fraudulent actors. While vulnerabilities get patched over time, you need to be aware of where danger may lie.
Remote Code Execution via GIF
In 2019, a user under the nickname Awakened published a report on how they managed to detect a WhatsApp hacking gap, which consisted of the fact that a remote attacker could execute arbitrary code in the system on the target device. All the cracker had to do was send the GIF file as an attachment in the messenger, which, upon successful opening, triggered a double-free bug. What happens next is that the attackers could theoretically tamper with the application shell and pry out the data they need.
This story took a positive turn – the company’s developers came out with a new version, 2.19.244, which fixed the problem. While the reporter stated that Android 8.0 and below were not exploitable, newer versions of the operating system could still be at risk.
Paid Third-Party Apps
Using end-to-end encryption functionality for its operations, WhatsApp, like some other messengers employing this technology, creates an additional layer of reliability and security. For the average user, this implementation seems sufficient to be certain that WhatsApp hack and leak is impossible, and their chats and all included content will be visible only to them and the recipient. However, third-party apps have the nerve to challenge and bypass even such practically bulletproof measures.
As the undisputed leader in its niche of untraceable applications for remote parental control and other similar use cases, uMobix has social media and messenger monitoring as its forte. It allows resolving concerns about how to hack WhatsApp without even having access to the target device. Users need to purchase a subscription to start the program and then:
- set up the data uploading process using iCloud credentials for iOS devices,
- for Android devices, install uMobix on the target device, and then the application will – also discreetly – allow you to see messages in personal and group chats, including deleted ones, view the list of contacts, and content exchanged.
Therefore, if someone knows your iCloud login data or has access to your Android device, the chances are that you are being monitored.
Perhaps one of the primary reasons why more and more people are turning to remote monitoring apps is because they prefer to be on the safe side when it comes to ensuring the well-being of their children. And instead of bizarre ways such as WhatsApp hacking, they opt for products like xMobi that run in stealth mode and are easy to install and use.
However, even if monitoring WhatsApp direct messages does not bring the expected results, users can rely on retrieved information from other directories on the target device, such as:
- phone logs and SMS
- browser history and bookmarks
The use of such products can actually be tricky or even impossible to detect as the application icon can be hidden during installation, or the app is not installed at all on the target device due to the ability to keep track of their activities through a cloud solution.
Socially Engineered Attacks
By choosing a psychological vector of attack on people; attackers can very effectively achieve the results they need from unsuspecting victims. To carry out socially engineered attacks, they do not need to dig deep to find security vulnerabilities – they’re rather interested in one weak “human” link. An attacker can fish out a small detail like a security code for logging into a corporate messenger and then acquire access to entire systems and networks.
Let’s look at a more specific situation to beware of. The criminal examines all available information to appear as a person from the inner circle of the enterprise; and begins to have a conversation with the employee in line with work processes. The intruder can also send out phishing emails with embedded links by clicking on which a person plants malicious software on their computer. To perform a WhatsApp hack, they can also use the victim’s phone number to call them and get a one-time password.
Media File Jacking
Some feel that the level of security built within the messenger ecosystem; such as WhatsApp, Telegram, etc., provides an ironclad way to deal with WhatsApp hacking. If we talk about the internal storage of such messengers; it is challenging for intruders to tap into a user account. But if the user enables saving images to the Camera Roll; it means that the content has left the safe harbor and is now stored in external storage.
Everything would be fine, but the attackers are not asleep and exploit this feature to their advantage. While being saved on the device itself, your media files are exposed to all sorts of manipulations by malicious apps that a sloppy user can recklessly grant common access permission like many other apps on the phone. The best protection is prevention – if your WhatsApp is used to share sensitive information; you can turn off the locally saving option on the device.
Scanning a QR code repeatedly can be tedious for many; but attackers see it as an opportunity for a WhatsApp hack. When logging into your account from the web version on someone else’s computer; you should remember that you need to click on Logout if there is a tick next to Keep Me Signed. If you are still not sure if some unwanted user has access to your account from a browser, double-check as follows:
- Go to WhatsApp and click on Settings.
- Click on Linked Devices. If no sessions are displayed there, then your authorization is exclusive.
- If you see one or more inputs, as shown in the image; click on the unwanted device and log out to avoid a WhatsApp hack.
Fake WhatsApp Clones
While there is only one official site for downloading and getting information about WhatsApp (https://www.whatsapp.com), the web, Google Play Market, and App Store are filled with suspicious clones. They can do such a good job of resembling this familiar app that it’s hard to tell them apart at first glance.
When scammers are planning how to hack WhatsApp, they can come up with a program that offers additional lucrative features to the messenger and somehow improves its appearance or functionality. Needless to say, this will turn out to be nothing more than a WhatsApp hack app that; once installed, will compromise your privacy and the security of the device as a whole. So be vigilant and use only the official app that has billions of downloads on official resources.
The MMI Code Trick
While the news about the possibility of WhatsApp hack using phone calls is not new; testers and scammers alike do not give up trying to find untapped weaknesses. One of the new discoveries is the ability to hack WhatsApp using call redirection. What, in fact, happens is that during a call to a number starting with Man-Machine-Interface code (MMI); the user’s call is redirected to a scammer who can thus receive a code to enter the account.
Of course, such a trick will be impossible if the target user has two-factor authentication enabled beforehand. Therefore, it is not recommended to neglect such an additional layer of security since once in the hands of an attacker; access to your account may be lost. On the bright side, it’s not an easy thing to pull off because a person must be convinced to make a call; which is not so easy but possible to do by gaining their trust.
Accessing Your Chat Backups
The backup option is designed primarily so that people who change devices or lose them can always have old chats, contacts, and other content at hand. Traditionally, a Google account with Google Drive is intended to save this kind of information. By entering the Chat Backup in the application; you can set up automatic applause of data to disk or click on Back Up Now. It’s convenient and fast, but if a dishonest player comes into play; it means that they can do a WhatsApp chat hack using your backups.
First, make sure that no one except you can access your WhatsApp messenger. This will help you:
- Two-factor verification requiring a six-digit password.
- Touch ID or Face ID.
- Logging out of the account on other people’s computers and gadgets; as well as double-checking whether there are other connected devices in the Linked Devices section.
Also, you must keep the password and login to your Google account secret so; that no Ill-wisher can set up a restoring process from your Google Drive backup to their device and read all your chats.
This approach is only possible on Mac devices as it involves tampering with the device’s target address. To make such a WhatsApp hack, the invader will need certain technical skills.
For starters, they should take down the app from the gadget target; and access it directly to find out the Wi-Fi MAC address in the About section. The attacker then uses a hacking tool to spoof their Wi-Fi Mac address with the target. Then, having the victim’s phone number and access to the confirmation code, they create a new account. Thus, basically, WhatsApp can be duplicated. To avoid this, you need not leave your devices unattended and, again, use 2FA.
Stay Aware of Security Issues on WhatsApp
Technologies do not stand still, and with them, attackers do not stop honing their skills for WhatsApp hack and reconnaissance of other people’s data in messengers. While we’re wary of outside attacks, even people in our inner circle may be out to scout the data and get under your skin.
The least you can do to prevent a WhatsApp hack is to exercise personal vigilance and discretion when using iCloud or Google Drive on other people’s devices, always log out of them and check afterward if there are any connections that you did not make. Also, consider additional security options such as a pin code that will only be stored in your head or a fingerprint.
How to know if my WhatsApp is hacked?
The most straightforward way to find out if someone has done a WhatsApp hack behind your back is to check active sessions other than yours. They will be displayed on Linked devices, which can be opened by clicking on the burger menu. Just tap on an unknown device to deactivate the session. If you did not set up two-factor verification, the intruder could do it; – then the system simply will not let you through, and you will not even be able to see the chat window.
How to hack someone’s WhatsApp using Chrome?
Google Chrome is a convenient and commonly used browser in which we often save access to various networks and instant messengers. However, beware that another person can open it and won’t even need to figure out how to hack WhatsApp unless you click Logout.
Remember that your cloud in Gmail and other similar spaces can store files that are of interest to an attacker.
Even if you log out, they can scan the QR code in the web version with your smartphone; and discreetly bring the phone back, having constant access to your chats.
Can someone hack WhatsApp through a phone number?
Not using a phone number alone, but as a handy tool to get in touch with you. Do not follow links from strangers, as they may host infected software.
If someone knows the phone number and has access to the device on which the verification code will be sent, they can enter their account. However, if the account owner has set up two-factor verification, you will also need to enter a pin to the boot.