WhatsApp users according to Android Police, are beginning to see an option for two-factor authentication in their account settings folder. According to the report, the feature has already gone live in the app’s most recent betas of 2.16.341 and above. It has already been spotted by some users in the Windows Phone beta. You will be prompted to enter a six-digit passcode every time you register a new phone to your account.
I am not sure how some users will receive this piece of news, but it does seem like one that will make signing in a bit clumsy. Of course, it is a welcome development for some users that have been clamoring for such features to be added.
Too bad for bad guys who might want to clone your phone or access your chat without authorization. We have heard in the past how hackers try to convince a carrier to assign a user’s phone number to their new mobile device. What a two-factor authentication brings to your phone is security and protection against hackers. It means an SMS confirmation is no longer enough to grant you access like it used to be.
A two-factor authentication has been on the card for a while, but now that it has made to the beta version, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes official.
How to set up a two-factor authentication on your phone:
I assume you already have an account, so all you need to do is go to your Settings, click on ‘Account’ and then ‘Two-step verification’ to initiate the process of securing your account. That’s how it is in the beta version, and will probably remain that way even when it goes live after the test. If you are a beta tester, then you can access the new feature as explained.
The big issue for me and I guess for everyone as well is, WhatsApp has not made it clear how often you would be asked to enter a passcode to access your app. However, I do have the feeling that you won’t be asked to enter a passcode every time you want to access it—probably if you haven’t used it for a while.
Here is what the Support Page of WhatsApp had to say about the two-step verification:
“If you have two-step verification enabled, your number will not be permitted to reverify on WhatsApp within 7 days of last using WhatsApp without your passcode. Thus, if you forget your own passcode, but did not provide an email to disable two-step verification, even you will not be permitted to reverify on WhatsApp within 7 days of last using WhatsApp. After these 7 days, your number will be permitted to reverify on WhatsApp without your passcode, but you will lose all pending messages upon reverifying – they will be deleted. If your number is reverified on WhatsApp after 30 days of last using WhatsApp, and without your passcode, your account will be deleted and a new one will be created upon successfully reverifying.”
Expect two-step verification to roll out to everyone soon!