How to know if my WhatsApp is being spied on and how to avoid it

Although the service is not perfect and many users find it too limited, WhatsApp has something that others don’t: a huge and growing number of active users.

In the case of Spain we could say that it is the standard in terms of instant messaging. “Everyone” uses WhatsApp to communicate on a daily basis and this has made the service a double-edged sword.

How to know if my WhatsApp is being spied on and how to avoid it
How to know if my WhatsApp is being spied on and how to avoid it

I say double-edged sword, as it is a very useful service, but because of its universality it is also a regular target for gossips, stalkers or bosses who want to know at all times what their employees are doing.

There are several ways they can be spying on your WhatsApp without you knowing it and in the following lines I want to talk about it. And not just talk about the most common methods of doing so, but how to protect yourself from it so that no one can ever read your conversations without authorization.

How to tell if the WhatsApp is spying on me

As I was saying, there are different methods that someone can use to spy on our messaging account. Most require the “gossip” to have access to the iPhone or Android smartphone, at least for pre-setting.

These are the most widely used methods:

WhatsApp Web

This service allows you to keep a WhatsApp session open in any web browser and is configured in seconds.

Thanks to this service it is possible to see all the conversations and even to maintain conversations from any computer, mobile or tablet. To do this, simply log in to by reading the QR code that appears from the mobile phone you have installed and configured for your WhatsApp account.

This means that a person who wants to spy on you only needs a few seconds with your unlocked smartphone to log in to the web version of the service.

The worst part of this is that the service does not warn you that there is a session started on the screens you usually use. To check this you need to go to SettingsWhatsApp Web and there you can see the sessions started and also close them in case you don’t recognize any (once closed you need to use your smartphone again to open it again).

Spy application for WhatsApp

The second most widely used method is to use applications created specifically to spy on entire WhatsApp or smartphone accounts . This is a more sophisticated method and requires access to the device for a few minutes to install the app.

In addition, iPhone often requires an iCloud passcode and active wireless backup from the Apple cloud. On Android devices, the latter is usually not necessary and simply installing the app is sufficient.

These spy apps allow to remotely monitor virtually everything that happens on “infected” devices . From the call log, viewing photos stored on the device, checking calendars or viewing conversions from WhatsApp and other services (iMessages, Telegram, etc, etc…) which is the topic at hand.

Knowing if your device is infected is often complicated, as apps work in the background and usually leave no visible evidence that they are installed on the devices. One of the few ways to find out is to detect grossly excessive battery consumption or, if you have more advanced knowledge, to use software such as iMazing that allows you to view the iOS console with everything that’s going on in the background.

The way to get rid of them is usually by restoring the device to factory status to completely remove it and get everything back to normal.

Changing the encryption code

WhatsApp automatically encrypts all conversations. This way if someone intercepts the communication (something quite simple on public WiFi networks) they will not be able to read the messages.

However, there are times when it is possible for the encryption to break (if for example one of the two people involved in the conversation reinstalls the WhatsApp app) and this makes it possible for a person with bad intentions to be able to decode those conversations.

To check that the encryption is correct, access any conversation and tap on the name of the contact. Now tap on Encryption and follow the on-screen instructions to check that the other person is using the same encryption code.

Unofficial applications

From time to time an application appears that promises to improve or extend the functions of the messaging service and its origin is not very clear. It is always advisable not to get carried away with promises and install these apps, as you do not know what they may be doing with your device.

It’s true that there are applications like WhatsApp Plus that really bring new features to the service that may be useful , but that doesn’t mean they can’t do a lot more things in the background without us knowing about it and one of them might be to send all the conversions to third parties.

In addition, the use of unauthorized apps is against the rules of service and your WhatsApp account may be suspended.

Activating your number on another device

To activate WhatsApp on a device all you need to do is install the app and enter a code that is received by SMS . If a person has access to your iPhone they can view that activation message (depending on the notification settings even if the device is locked) and activate it on another smartphone within seconds.

By doing so, he can pretend to be you and although he won’t be able to see your previous conversations, he will be able to send messages as if it were you and even participate in the groups you are a member of. Fortunately this is very easy to detect, as activating it on a new device will stop it from working on the previous one.

To avoid this it is best to activate the activation in two steps as explained at the end of this article . So, in addition to needing that activation code you will need to know a password that you have set previously.

Measures to prevent spying on your WhatsApp

Now that you know the most common methods by which the WhatsApp on your smartphone (iPhone or Android) can spy on you, it’s time to learn how to protect yourself and prevent this from happening .

Configure the screen lock system with code, Face ID or Touch ID

The first thing you should do is prevent anyone from accessing your WhatsApp account without your permission and the easiest protection to apply is to enable the screen lock.

For iOS there are three options depending on the iPhone model you have: a unlocking code, Face ID or Touch ID .

Either method is more secure than having nothing, but of course Face ID, Apple’s facial recognition, is the most secure yet, especially when combined with an alphanumeric code rather than a simple four-digit PIN.

Access SettingsCode to activate one of these security systems and prevent anyone from accessing your device without knowing the unlock code.

In addition, you can also enable the WhatsApp app lockout feature with Touch ID and Face ID if you are using iPhone.

Avoid using public WiFi networks

Whenever you can, avoid connecting to a public WiFi network and if you need to do so, try to use a system that encrypts all information coming out of your computer, such as a VPN.

Anyone can be using software to capture the traffic that flows through a public WiFi network and then use this information maliciously to spy on WhatsApp, Telegram or any other type of app or web (access to bank accounts, capture photos sent by email, etc, etc…).

It is true that nowadays most websites use https and other encryption systems, but they are not always completely secure and in certain cases that encryption can be easily broken.

Change your iCloud password regularly

Most spy apps for iOS do not work in real time due to the security measures built into the operating system. That’s why they use the backups uploaded to iCloud to show the information to the spy.

That’s why changing your iCloud password regularly is a good way to protect yourself . And not only from “gossips” who may be trying to spy on you, but also to protect all the data stored in the Apple cloud from other possible dangers.

Activate two-step verification

Enabling WhatsApp’s two-step verification is a way to prevent anyone from being able to activate your account on a device without your authorization.

This method basically consists of setting a password that WhatsApp will ask you for when you activate the service on a new device in addition to the code that you will continue to receive by SMS .

When activating it, it will be necessary to know the password and also have access to the telephone number to receive the SMS with the key and be able to enter it during the activation process.

To activate the two-step verification you must access the tab Configuration of WhatsApp – AccountTwo-step verification and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process.

Disable notification preview with locked iPhone

With the default setting, the iPhone displays a preview of the messages in the notifications even when the device is locked . This is very convenient, but at the same time it can be a big privacy issue as anyone can see them even if they can’t unlock the phone.

Of course this option can be modified and if you suspect that someone is spying on your smartphone it is advisable to change it. To do this go to SettingsNotificationsShow preview and activate the If unlocked option.

From this point on, you will still receive notifications of new messages when your smartphone is locked, but it will not display a message excerpt as before.

What to do if my WhatsApp is being spied on and how to avoid it

Throughout the article I have explained what you should do to detect if your WhatsApp is being spied on and the different methods to stop it: logging out of WhatsApp, changing your iCloud password, activating the unlock code so that no one can access your device…

In addition to all of the above, if you think your device may have been corrupted and have some spy application installed, the best option is to restore the device to the factory state as indicated above. This will ensure that the app is completely removed and you won’t have any more problems.

To all this I think it is important to add an extra point and get a little more serious. Nobody should spy on your WhatsApp or your devices in general and if they do you should report it to the authorities . This type of practice is a crime in most countries and a violation of privacy, so if you ever find yourself in this situation do not hesitate to report it.

Have you ever suspected that your WhatsApp account is being spied on? Have you managed to solve it easily? We’d love to hear your story, the comments are yours.

  • Luis Rodriguez June 26, 2018 at 5:34 pm On android since version 6, it always tells me in the notification bar that I have the WhatsApp web session activeResponder
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