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WhatsApp: Why strangers can suddenly read your chats

More than 60 billion WhatApp messages are sent on average every day. Many chat histories are very private and should not fall into the hands of strangers. A small mistake can do just that. We explain how to avoid it.

WhatsApp is one of the most popular messengers worldwide. Even if the app is repeatedly accused of a lack of data security and privacy, billions of messages are sent via the service every day.

Regardless of whether the chats are superficial or very private: The messages should in any case not be accessible to third parties.

But this is exactly what can happen if you don't pay attention to a little thing, as WhatsApp explains on its own website.

WhatsApp: You should urgently avoid this mistake

WhatsApp is popular for many reasons: It's free, it's easy to use, and you don't have to remember a login name or password. But this is exactly where the problem lies: your WhatsApp account is only linked to the phone number.

WhatsApp chats are encrypted and therefore usually not visible to strangers. But if you change your phone number and the telecommunications company reassigns your former mobile number, they can in principle access all of your WhatsApp chats.

To avoid cases like this, WhatsApp deletes all chat data for a number as soon as it has been inactive for 45 days. However, telephone numbers are often reassigned before this deadline. If the person who has now received your old number installs and opens WhatsApp within the 45-day period, they will have access to all WhatsApp chats.

In the next section we will explain how you can avoid this uncomfortable situation.

WhatsApp: how to avoid the mistake

To prevent someone with your old phone number from accessing your WhatsApp messages, there are two options:

  1. delete account. To do this, you first have to open WhatsApp and go to the settings. Under "Account" you will now find the item "Delete my account". However, you should note that you will also lose any unsaved messages.
  2. It is less radical and just as effective if you use your change number. To do this, also open WhatsApp> Settings> Account. You can do exactly that under "Change number". Enter your current and your new phone number. Your WhatsApp account will then be transferred to the new mobile number and can no longer be viewed with the old number.

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