WhatsApp is getting two-step verification, and anyone who cares a shred about privacy needs to activate it as soon as possible. The feature is currently only available on beta versions of the Android app, but a general support document rolled out Thursday suggests the feature will become a more widespread fixture soon.
Here’s how to activate two-step verification for Whatsapp:
WhatsApp > Settings > Account > Two-step verification > Enable.
You’ll then be asked to choose a six-digit passcode. When you, or someone else, tries to register that phone number with WhatsApp, they’ll need either the passcode or access to the email address used to register the account.
WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption features are touted as a simple way of securing messages. Diplomats use the service to exchange quick messages, while the Australian government was found using the service in daily duties. In the wake of a Donald Trump presidency, there have been calls on Twitter to adopt the service to secure against any government snooping:
Others expressed concerns that Trump’s public statements suggest he would take little issue with reading people’s messages:
Anyone adopting WhatsApp for security reasons should enable the feature if possible. End-to-end encryption is one thing, but two-step verification will provide added peace of mind that nobody will be able to register your phone number on a different device. There may be some issues around the app’s data storage abilities, and unless action is taken the app may share data with Facebook.