As millions of people now access WhatsApp on their PCs and laptops, the Facebook-owned platform on Thursday announced to add an additional layer of security where users will be able to link their WhatsApp account on mobile phones to their computers.
In order to link WhatsApp Web or Desktop to your WhatsApp account, you will now be asked to use your face or fingerprint unlock on your phone, before scanning a QR code from the phone to link your device.
The new security update for linking devices will be rolling out, alongside a visual redesign to the WhatsApp Web page on phones, to users with compatible devices over the coming weeks.
“We’re putting even more security into WhatsApp Web and desktop, adding an additional layer of protection when you want to link your WhatsApp account to your computer,” the company said in a statement.
The move, said WhatsApp, will limit the chance that a housemate or office colleague can link devices to your WhatsApp account without you.
“This builds on our existing security measures today, which pop up a notice in your phone whenever a Web/Desktop login occurs, and the ability to unlink devices from your phone at any time,” the company noted.
WhatsApp said the face and fingerprint authentication takes place on your device in a privacy preserving manner — by design.
“WhatsApp cannot access the biometric information stored by your device’s operating system”.
In mid-January, it was found that WhatsApp on Desktop (Web) application was allegedly exposing personal mobile numbers via indexing on Google Search.
Independent cybersecurity researcher Rajshekhar Rajaharia had shared some screenshots with IANS showing indexing of personal mobile numbers of WhatsApp users via Web version on Google Search.
Concerned at private group chat links being available on Google Search, WhatsApp had earlier said that it asked Google not to index such chats and advised users not to share group chat links on publicly accessible websites.
The indexed WhatsApp group chat links have now been removed from Google.