We are going to talk to you about the myths and legends of how they can spy on you on WhatsApp. Nobody likes to be spied on in our applications, but if it is a messaging app in which we tell our secrets and send our photos, or even some sensitive data, we can always be afraid that someone is spying on us.
We are going to start the article by telling you some of the false myths about spying on WhatsApp. Then, we will go on to tell you the few cases in which it could be done. We will also tell you that spying on WhatsApp is a crime that can land you in jailand we’ll go over the cases, and we’ll end with some safety tips.
Myths about spying on WhatsApp
No, a hacker is not going to be able to arrive, intercept your messages and spy on everything you write. Fortunately this is a myth. In the past, there was a security gap that allowed you to do it if you shared the same WiFi network, but WhatsApp is currently a very secure application.
This is so thanks to WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption. What this technology does is protect the messages you send with a passwordso that the message leaves your mobile encrypted, and the content is only decrypted when it reaches the mobile of the person to whom you have sent it.
With this, if someone were to intercept your message “along the way” with some spyware, they would have no way of knowing what was written or shared inside. It’s like you intercepted a treasure chest but you didn’t have the key to open itit doesn’t help you much.
Therefore, no matter what a supposed cybercriminal tells you, they cannot have remotely accessed your WhatsApp unless you have given them access in one of the ways that we will tell you about later. This is not like when in the movies someone turns on a walkie-talkie and listens to police conversations, because everything you write on WhatsApp is encrypted.
And speaking of myths. There are many so-called WhatsApp spy apps that promise to spy on other people’s conversations. These apps are fake And they don’t do what they promise. None will help you to spy on other people’s conversations.
In fact, some of them could steal your WhatsApp account in the event that they ask you to log in with yours. Therefore, avoid all of them in the same way that you avoid other known viruses like WhatsApp Plus apps. It doesn’t matter what these apps promise you, because they can’t spy on other people’s conversations from your WhatsApp.
There are only two types of supposedly spy apps that can comply, and those are non-spy apps. There are some that can help you know when a contact has connected to WhatsApp, and there may be others that allow you to configure them on two mobiles to see the chat of one on the other. But this is not spying, they are parental control apps.
In which cases you could be spied on WhatsApp
Although there is no possibility of spying on WhatsApp directly or with spy applications, they do exist three methods with which your messages could be read. These are the ones to get access to your WhatsApp, link to your account with WhatsApp Web, or with a spy virus on your mobile
Get access to your WhatsApp
We have seen that you cannot spy on your WhatsApp from “outside” your WhatsApp. However, if someone gets access to your own WhatsApp, then yes it could see what you write and write for you. Because then he will have entered your account, he will be “in”, and he will be able to see all your messages.
The way to spy on you in this way is convincing you to let them into your WhatsApp. When you are going to access your WhatsApp account from a new device, there is a two-step verification method with which an SMS is sent to you with a verification code. And there is a common scam that is to trick you into giving them the WhatsApp code.
The way to work is the following. I write your phone to access WhatsApp, and the app tells me that to access it has sent an SMS to your phone with a code. So, I write to you via WhatsApp from my account or through some other app trying to mislead you in some way so that you send me that code that just arrived by SMS.
If you don’t stop to read the message to see what the code is, they might be able to distract you into giving it to them, and they’ll steal your account. The point is that when someone enters your WhatsApp in this way, the session will close on your mobile and you will no longer be able to enter. come on, what you will know that someone has stolen your access to WhatsAppand you can proceed to retrieve it, although while you’re at it they might be able to eavesdrop on everything you’ve said.
Link another device to your account
Another method that could be to spy on your WhatsApp is linking a device to your account. This is like when you access your WhatsApp account from the browser with WhatsApp Web, first you have to link the browser on your computer, and then with that you can access your chats from it.
The process to link a device requires a QR code and pointing to it with the mobile where you have WhatsApp, and therefore, to do so, the attacker would have to have physical access to your mobile to carry out this process.
If you have doubts about this, in the configuration of WhatsApp you have a section of linked devices, and there you can see where your WhatsApp is accessed from and log out remotely if you don’t remember which one appears on the list. My recommendation would be that you only keep linked the devices with which you use WhatsApp in your day to day.
Using malware with keylogger
The other method would be to install malware on your mobile, a virus, and for it to have what is called a keylogger. A keylogger is a system with which you can record everything you type on the keyboard on your mobile, and this would include everything from your WhatsApp messages to your credit card number. Therefore, this is no longer spying on WhatsApp, but spying on your mobile.
This type of malware must be installed on your mobile. And the most common method is through fraudulent applications, especially those that download directly in .apk executables for Android. It is common to use WhatsApp Plus or you can even use supposed apps that tell you that they will spy on others. Or directly any other scam not related to WhatsApp with which they ask you to install an app.
How to know if you are being spied on
If you want to know if someone is using your WhatsApp, there are a few things you can check. For example, if someone sends you a message, and When you go to read it, it already appears as read. You can also check if there are any messages sent or edited that you did not write.
Any strange behavior of WhatsApp could help, things are sent, reactions appear, responses that are not yours, texts in foreign languages in which you do not usually write. Anything that might make you think you’re not in control.
In WhatsApp settings you have a section of linked devices, where you can see what other devices or mobiles are using your account. From there you can enter a device and log out.
You also have an extension to find out if you are being spied on via WhatsApp Web with some kind of attack that intercepts your browser data, and in case there is an app using WhatsApp in a strange way, there is also a way to find out if it is using your camera or microphone without you knowing.
Consequences of spying on someone on WhatsApp
As they explained in Xataka Móvil after speaking with the lawyer Carlos Sánchez from Bufet Almeida, Spying on someone’s WhatsApp is a crime. Specifically, it is a crime of discovery and disclosure of secrets in countries like Spain, as reflected in article 197 of the Spanish Penal Code:
Whoever, to discover the secrets or violate the privacy of another, without their consent, seizes their papers, letters, email messages or any other documents or personal effects, intercepts their telecommunications or uses technical devices for listening, transmission, recording or reproduction of sound or image, or any other communication signal, will be punished with prison terms of one to four years and a fine of twelve to twenty-four months.
As for the consequence, this crime is punishable by sentences of imprisonment from one to four years and heavy fines. This is the penalty simply for intercepting another person’s telecommunications without their permission. However, if you broadcast the conversations the penalty is even greatergoing up to five years.
In this criminal dissemination, the conversations of people in which there is personal data such as religion, their beliefs or ideology, their health, their sexual life, or their racial origin are included. It is also a crime when the victim is a minor or have a disability.
And if you try to extort money from the person not to spread the data, this is a crime for profit, and can be sentenced to up to seven years in prison. There have already been cases, such as a woman sentenced to 14 months in prison for snooping on a friend’s WhatsApp, or a man sentenced to two years in prison for spying on her wife’s WhatsApp.
Tips to prevent WhatsApp from spying on you
To finish, we are going to give you some tips to make sure you avoid someone spying on you on WhatsApp. First of all is never post your phone number online, since this would be the way in which a person who does not even know you could try to break into your account.
It is also important check your WhatsApp Web sessions in the Paired devices option of the application settings. And to prevent someone from accessing through a virus, it is also important never use an unofficial WhatsApp application, such as WhatsApp Plus. They are always viruses for your mobile.
It is also not recommended to download any other unknown application, don’t install any app you don’t know or are suspicious. And evidently, never give your WhatsApp verification code to anyone that I ask you No matter what excuse they give you, if the code has come to you by SMS it is for your account, and if you share it they will be able to access it.
To try that someone can enter your WhatsApp physically, you can protect WhatsApp with your fingerprint with its two-step verification so that it does not work by opening the app on your mobile. And obviously, you also have to have your mobile protected with a PIN or fingerprint so that anyone who has it in hand cannot enter your apps.
Yes, these are pretty basic and simple tips, but there is no convoluted way to hack your WhatsApp, the few methods that exist go through simple things.
In Xataka Basics | How to hide as much as possible on WhatsApp: guide to maximize your privacy