Mr. Steiger, the WhatsApp profile of a Swiss student has recently been hacked. What is the purpose of such people?
It could be a joke. However, it is often the case that someone wants to get data on the identity of the person in question and their contacts in order to blackmail them with photos, for example.
What is the danger of being the victim of such an attack?
The call to check a phone number is the classic to take over these accounts. As an unaffected person, it can be quickly stated that it is stupid to meet these requests. But forget it: we are all conditioned to constantly enter any code. As a result, we run the risk of entering codes that allow someone to invade our accounts.
What other tricks are used to steal users from their profiles?
Strangers can also invade profiles if you request the verification code via voice mail. If the voicemail PIN is known or is not secure enough, hackers can access voice mail. But they can also be people from their own area to become hackers. I introduced some criminal cases where young people used profiles of WhatsApp colleagues to shock their female contacts with, for example, naked photos.
How did they manage to establish themselves in foreign profiles?
That just happens. As soon as someone gives the phone out of hand, it can abuse another person and then enter the browser via WhatsApp's QR code. The offender directs the profile via WhatsApp in the browser.
What should be done to protect against such attacks?
To be on the safe side, one turns on in-app verification in two steps. For example, every time you try to verify the phone number, you must also enter a PIN previously set by the user. I also recommend checking in the settings that other devices are logged into WhatsApp. And, of course, you should ignore all code prompts that appear out of nowhere.
How to react when the profile name is abused by a stranger?
I recommend that WhatsApp be asked to disable the profile. If this does not help, a possible step is to get a new phone number.
Can someone arrest these hackers?
Attacks fall under Hacking's offense. Unfortunately, it can be very time consuming to identify the perpetrators and prevent them – especially if they are abroad.
About the person: Martin Steiger is an IT lawyer in Zurich.
There are also alternatives to WhatsApp:
The 2019 digital telegram
Digital Telegram 2019
Stay informed with today's newsletter.at
You may also be interested in this:
Read the comment