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Are WhatsApp Photos Safe to Use?

By Julia Clarks | November 13, 2019 |

greater than 4 minutes

Can WhatsApp images be hacked? it is important to understand how to protect WhatsApp photos, as well as be aware of the common behaviors that may lead to your photos being leaked. Here are some tips on how to secure your WhatsApp photos.

WhatsApp is one of the most used communication apps globally with over a billion registered users. The app became famous for presenting a super convenient way of communication which would later attract small and big businesses alike. Today, people are reliant on WhatsApp such that they even send important files through the platform. The application was bought by Facebook in 2014 for a whopping figure estimated to be around $19.3 billion. In 2015, the app became the most popular communication app all over and has since reached over 1.5 billion users. In most European countries, including the UK, Spain and France, as well as in Brazil, India, and Pakistan, WhatsApp has become the primary source of communication.  

Facebook has made some significant changes to the app thanks to its big budget, and in January 2018, the company released the business version of the app. WhatsApp Business was launched as a standalone app meant to help small-sized businesses to easily communicate with clients on the standard WhatsApp. This initiative received positive response indicated by the move made by most businesses that readily jumped onto the wagon. Note that these apps have a similar (if not identical) mechanism; just a few features being added to the business version to allow professional presentation. 

How Safe are Photos on WhatsApp? 

WhatsApp is very private just like text messaging. Once you start using the app, it becomes your personal space where you get to chat with various people. This includes sending media files, such as photos, audios, videos and so forth. Sending photos can be fun, especially private ones where you get to show your close friends or loved ones some cool exciting moments. However, some of the pictures you might not want seen by your bosses may end up being seen, which raises a bunch of questions about the app, such as: can WhatsApp images be hacked? 

‘Safe’ is a broad term that may mean a lot of things to different people. However, in this article, we will take it from the concept of protecting your photos. Before answering the question of how safe are photos on WhatsApp, lets first get to understand the security measures applied by the team of WhatsApp technicians.  

Before 2012, messages on WhatsApp, as well as media files, were sent as they were without any form of protection. However, in 2012, the company, then under the ownership of WhatsApp Inc. introduced encryption. In 2016, after being acquired by Facebook, it introduced end-to-end encryption, which was greatly praised by users as it added a stronger safety layer. Due to their privacy protection measures, WhatsApp has been criticized by many for unintentionally assisting terrorists. The blame is mostly directed at the privacy level that lets terrorists use the app to plan their shenanigans without being detected.  

With encryption technology, sent and received content is converted into a combination of codes that are not readable, making it difficult for a hacker to gain access. To further strengthen the safety of your photos, WhatsApp states that they are not kept on their servers. The content is only stored for 30 days maximum if the recipient hasn’t received the message. After 30 days, the content is automatically deleted with no traces left.  

Are There Worries Concerning the Safety of WhatsApp Images? 

Let’s not forget that there is nothing that is entirely “safe” in the internet circles. Despite WhatsApp working day and night to improve their security measures, hacks are still bound to happen as hackers also work day and night to update their hacking skills. Therefore, if a hacker is committed to stealing your photos via WhatsApp, they can succeed. However, when it comes to WhatsApp hacks, hackers mainly rely on the user’s point of weakness and carelessness as opposed to breaching the app’s security. Thus, it is important to understand how to protect WhatsApp photos, as well as be aware of the common behaviors that may lead to your photos being leaked.  

There is no way that you can tweak the WhatsApp network, hence, we don’t have any tricks to give that will enhance WhatsApp network security. However, there are a few things that you can do to protect your photos. Here are some tips on how to secure your WhatsApp photos: 

  • Use trusted network connection—Wi-Fi hotspots can be fun and cheap to use, however, they come at a price which, is being vulnerable to internet vultures. Remember, public Wi-Fi is open to everyone and you do not know everyone’s intentions. Thus, by connecting to such networks, you will be exposing not only your private WhatsApp pictures, but also your entire device.  
  • Set your automatic phone lock to seconds—you do not want to invite an on-looker to pry on your phone by keeping it unlocked while away. It is in human nature to forget to lock their phones. Thus, setting a short automatic lock time-frame will not give anyone a chance to pry on your phone.  
  • Ignore suspicious messages—hackers will always try their luck and one of their common ways is through sending random messages containing malware. Do not respond or click on such messages, or the links that promise some reward on behalf of WhatsApp.  
  • Hide your profile—anyone can easily get your WhatsApp profile picture and insert it in google reverse image search. The program will then provide results of where your profile picture has been used. This is a simple way that someone can use to gather information about you. Therefore, hiding your profile can prevent people from downloading your images.  

Ultimately, you should not mix your WhatsApp images with your phone’s main album. Remember, if your WhatsApp photos are synced to your phone’s album, even if you send a discreet image in the app, it will automatically update and show in the phone’s album making it easily accessible and beyond the app’s protection boundary. To enhance protection, you can switch off this feature to avoid any breach of your WhatsApp photo privacy.  

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