23rd July 2021 – In the digital world we all are living in; hacking has become quite common. From big organizations to the individuals, one and all are vulnerable to scamsters. We do not need to tell you what online fraudsters could do with your data. Internet is full of those stories and we are sure a little research could improve your knowledge on that aspect.
WhatsApp hacking is a part of digital vulnerability. So, let us look at one of the ways a WhatsApp account could get hacked. We are sharing the experience of one of our teammates here. So, this is how it happened. Our friend, Mr. Kumar (name changed for obvious reasons), got a WhatsApp message from one of his acquaintances (Ms. Bee). Ms. Bee and Mr. Kumar were part of a WhatsApp group. Bee asked Kumar to connect with her business account and page. Kumar agreed as he thought it is coming from a reliable source. Little did he know that he is being honey trapped. Bee told Kumar that he would receive a 6-digit WhatsApp code as SMS and once received, he has to share it with Bee. Kumar did as he was told. In fact, he received couple of codes on SMS and calls (pretending to be from WhatsApp) with code numbers. In less than a minute, Kumar was unable to login to his WhatsApp and the damage was done.
The story does not end here. Now, the hacker has the access to the WhatsApp account. So, s/he could initialize or set-up 2-step security verification with their own email address. It is highly unlikely that the victim would be able to retrieve the account now. Remember, a WhatsApp code is different from WhatsApp PIN which you would be asked to enter when the 2-step security verification is set-up. As per WhatsApp official policy, you could set-up your account without 2-step verification code only after 7 days of such incident.
Before we go to the solution part, are you wondering why did Ms. Bee did this? Her account was hacked 3 days back in the same way. Someone had impersonated her account and her hacker still had the access to her account (remember 7 days as mentioned above?) and was trying to fool others.
Now, you are angry at what has happened. Is there anything you could do now? Yes.
- Do not panic. I think this is most important part and you would learn why in number 2 below;
- Technically speaking, your hacker cannot have any contact information from your phone. Since this is a new phone (hacker’s phone) for your WhatsApp account now, all your previous chats, photos or videos cannot be accessed by the hacker;
- However, the hacked account is still part of the WhatsApp groups you were once part of;
- Inform your close friends and family that your account has been hacked. Any message from your account must be ignored;
- If you have the phone number of the admins of the WhatsApp groups you were part of, inform them and ask them to remove your number (You could get back again in the group, if the admin liked your presence there 😊). Once admin removes your number from the group, the hacker would not have the access to that group’s data and other group members would be less vulnerable to such hacking attempts.
- Please report this to Cyber Crime. If you think someone’s life could be in danger, please call 911 immediately for assistance.
Last but not the least, pledge that you would share this story with others and prevent unethical hacking.