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Picture used for illustrative purposes. Image Credit: AP

Dubai: With over 2 billion active monthly users, Whatsapp is a popular chat platform for mobile phone users to stay connected with the colleagues, family members and friends. But what can you do if your account gets hacked?

With several contacts and group chats saved on each phone users account, a hacking attempt doesn’t just affect your life but also potentially turns your contacts into victims of phishing attacks.

If you are concerned that your account has been hacked, the UAE’s Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA) has provided the following steps that you can follow to deactivate your account, reinstall the app and protect your contacts’ privacy:

1. Send an email to the technical support of Whatsapp –

2. Mention the following text: “Lost/stolen: Please deactivate my account”

3. Provide your phone number in the following format: +9715xxxxxxxx

4. Attempt to remove and reinstall Whatsapp at different times of the day. Retry reinstalling Whatsapp every day.

5. Inform relatives and friends about the hacking and urge them not to respond to any messages coming from your number on Whataspp.

Two-step verification

TDRA has also advised people in the past to use two-factor authentication for social media accounts to protect them from hackers. Whatsapp also offers a two-step verification process as an optional feature which adds more security to your WhatsApp account. You’ll see the two-step verification screen after you successfully register your phone number on WhatsApp.

When you enable two-step verification, you have the option to enter your email address. This allows WhatsApp to email you a reset link in case you ever forget your PIN and also helps safeguard your account.

How to enable two-step verification on Whatsapp

1. Open WhatsApp Settings.

2. Tap Account > Two-step verification > Enable.

3. Enter a six-digit PIN of your choice and confirm it.

4. Provide an email address you can access or tap Skip if you don’t want to add an email address. We recommend adding an email address as this allows you to reset two-step verification, and helps safeguard your account.

5. Tap Next.

6. Confirm the email address and tap Save or Done.

If you don’t add an email address and you forget your PIN, you’ll have to wait for seven days before you can reset your PIN.