Bait and Switch Attack
Imagine someone has taken over your account, what would happen to you and the people who contact you on WhatsApp?
Just as it is easy to fresh install of WhatsApp for your new phone is also how easy an attacker would gain access to your WhatsApp and possibly start a conversation with your friends claiming it is you.
Most times, the direct risk is not to you if you’re attacked, but to your contacts. They can expect to receive requests for data or even emergency funds. This is social engineering at its best. We would trust an end-to-end encrypted platform, a message from a trusted friend and so are coded to have our guards down and rather feel pity in these circumstances.
The repercussions of this happening are beyond imagination. This can even further spread to more of your contacts having there WhatsApp accounts taken over.
With the account taken over, the attackers could then message contacts in the groups you are in as if from the account holder (you), as well as any other contacts whose WhatsApp messages were received after the take over. No legacy data is compromised. The target device remains untouched. WhatsApp has simply been ghosted onto an illegitimate device.
It is surprising how many people have not yet enabled the Two-step verification PIN in WhatsApp—almost everyone we have asked has yet to set it up. If you’re the same, then please take that minute and set it up now.
The Question now is, How do we prevent this from happening to you for the first time or again?
WhatsApp introduced a feature where you can set a PIN of your own choice and even an email address just in case you forget your PIN. The PIN is your own verification to confirm that it is you even after inputting the SMS verification so you do not otherwise have to share your PIN with anyone.
You can find this feature in your WhatsApp setting > Account > Two-step verification: There you will be prompted to enable your PIN and confirm it, then you will also be asked to type in an email address to use to recover your account in case you forget your PIN