The new feature is known as Account Protect, and applies to both iPhones and Android smartphones.
If you need to switch your WhatsApp account to a new device – we want to double check that it’s really you. From now on, we may ask you on your old device to verify that you want to take this step as an extra security check. This feature can help alert you to an unauthorized attempt to move your account to another device.
The company doesn’t go into details of exactly how this works – whether it is something you can do in advance, or whether you need both old and new phones at the same time. The latter possibility could pose problems for those who sell their old iPhone before buying their new one.
We’ve reached out to WhatsApp owner Meta for comment, and will update with any response, but for now it’s just worth noting as a potential extra step before wiping your old phone.
Two additional security features are also coming. One is designed to make it easier to double-check that you haven’t been fooled into chatting with an attacker impersonating one of your contacts. You can already do this, but it’s a bit of a fiddly process. Automatic Security Codes is intended to make this much easier.
Our most security conscious users have always been able to take advantage of our security code verification feature, which helps ensure you are chatting with the intended recipient. You can check this manually by going to the encryption tab under a contact’s info. To make this process easier and more accessible to everyone, we’re rolling out a security feature based on a process called “Key Transparency” that allows you to automatically verify that you have a secure connection. What it means for you is that when you click on the encryption tab, you’ll be able to verify right away that your personal conversation is secured. For those interested in going deeper into the tech, click here.
Finally, extra steps are being taken to prevent a rogue app using your WhatsApp account in the background.
Device Verification: Mobile device malware is one of the biggest threats to people’s privacy and security today because it can take advantage of your phone without your permission and use your WhatsApp to send unwanted messages. To help prevent this, we have added checks to help authenticate your account – with no action needed from you – and better protect you if your device is compromised. This lets you continue using WhatsApp uninterrupted. Go deeper on the tech here.
The company is also reminding people to use two existing security features.
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