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WhatsApp Of Politicians And Journalists Being Hacked In Pakistan

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WhatsApp is considered a secure platform with end-to-end encryption. But some politicians and journalists in Pakistan are falling victims to WhatsApp hacking. Pakistan Muslim League (N) politician and Member of the Provincial Assembly of Punjab Hina Parvez Butt said in a tweet on Tuesday that her WhatsApp account was hacked and that the “hacker misused my account.”

Hina Butt has informed the cyber crime department, and has sought “proper action” against the culprit. She advised her Twitter followers not to click on any links or share any codes on the messaging app. She was able to retrieve her account within hours, but hackers had already gained access to her conversations, photos, videos, contacts, and other data.

Hina Butt is not the only prominent politician to have been targeted by hackers. She said in a follow-up tweet that Kanwal Nauman’s WhatsApp account was also hacked. Kanwal is an actor-turned-politician and a Member of the Provincial Assembly of Punjab. Separately, PML-N lawmaker Azma Bokhari said she was also attacked but she “refused to give any code” and “survived.”

Noted Geo News anchor Rabia Anum also took to Twitter to caution people that WhatsApp hacking attempts were happening to some politicians and journalists.

There are a variety of ways an attacker could hack your account. Sometimes, the hackers send you a general message such as Happy New Year, Happy Birthday or something like that. And then they send a second message requesting you to copy the text message and forward it to them through WhatsApp.

The first message installs malware on your device, and the second message contains a six-digit code and a link that WhatsApp sends to users when they want to activate their account on a new device. The hacker uses the code to access your account on their device.

The hackers may also send you messages from strange numbers with a link “call.me” or “please click the link to see the content.” Your phone will get hacked when you click on the link, allowing the attacker to access your app and contacts. The hackers will be able to send messages to any of your contacts and groups using your account.

Whether you are a politician or not, whether you live in Pakistan or elsewhere, you should try to keep your WhatsApp account secure. The best way to enhance security is to enable two-step verification via Settings. You should also never click on unsafe links. Here’s how to enable two-step authentication:

  • Open WhatsApp and go to Settings > Account > Two-step verification
  • Tap ‘Enable’ the two-step verification
  • Enter a 6-digit PIN that you’ll be required to enter when you register your phone number with WhatsApp on the same or a new device in the future
  • Add your email address that will be used to reset your 6-digit PIN in case you forget it.

Another way to enhance security is to turn on the option to “Show Security Notifications” by going to Settings > Account > Security. It will alert you if any of your contact’s security code has been compromised or changed.

WhatsApp itself is a secure platform with end-to-end encryption, but security is not just about the app itself. It also depends on the operating system. Ensure that your phone’s operating system is up to date, and that you don’t install apps from sources other than the Google Play Store. You should also protect your phone with a password, PIN or fingerprint scanner. Facial recognition on the iPhone X is excellent, but it’s not so secure on Android handsets.

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