WhatsApp has announced some additional security layers for its platform, specifically improving the security around switching an account from one device to another. These new features will be coming to the app “in the coming months”, so they’re unfortunately not going to be immediately available, but they are welcome additions to preventing your account from being compromised.
The most notable upcoming feature is Account Protect, which requires you to approve the transfer of your account to a new phone from your old phone. With the current transfer method, you only need to enter your phone number in the new phone and get the verification code — once logged in, your old device is automatically logged out from your account.
With Account Protect, it will notify you if an unauthorised person tries to grab your account and prevent it from happening as long as they don’t physically have your phone. Of course, needing the two phones side-by-side for verification already exists if you’re transferring your account from Android to iPhone and vice versa.
If you don’t want to be limited to using your account on one device, it might interest you to know that WhatsApp recently enabled Companion Mode for any user that signs up for their beta app. Regardless of whether your primary device is using iOS or Android, you can link up to four Android phones and/or tablets that will be synced to your account.
Another new security feature WhatsApp added is Device Verification, which aims to prevent malware attacks without needing any action from the user. To ensure that malware can’t impersonate your device’s authentication key, it uses an on-device security token, a nonce to identify if your account is connecting to receive a message, and an authentication-challenge used to asynchronously ping the users` device.
WhatsApp says that Device Verification has been rolled out to 100% of its Android users. As for iOS users, it says it’s “in the process of being rolled out”.
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