WhatsApp has unveiled two-step authentication in an attempt to stop people using your phone number to install the free messaging app on their device.
Instead of simply entering your phone number when setting up WhatsApp on your phone, you’ll now be requested to enter a six-digit authentication code too, making it harder for people to pretend to be you.
When you’re taken through the process, the service will ask you for your email address too, which will enable you to disable two-step authentication on a later date. It can also be used if you forget your six-digit authentication code, but WhatsApp said it won’t send an email confirmation or verification, meaning you could end up being locked out of your account if you use a fake email address or one that you don’t always have access to.
“If you receive an email to disable two-step verification, but did not request this, do not click on the link. Someone could be attempting to verify your phone number on WhatsApp,” the company warned.
WhatsApp will also stop people being able to re-verify the service using just their phone number if they have used two-step authentication to re-verify their account within the last seven days.
It’s an even better reason to double check your email address is correct, because without having access to your email to disable two-step authentication, you won’t be able to get into WhatsApp at all. If you try to access the service using just your phone number more than seven days after last using it with your passcode, all your WhatsApp messages will be deleted from your device, across all conversations, to protect your account from unauthorised access.
If you decide to start using it again after a break of 30 days or more, your entire account will be deleted and a new one will be created if you forget your passcode and can’t access your email to disable the two-step authentication process.