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Security first: WhatsApp begins rolling out two-step verification for its users

Why it matters to you

After a public showdown with the Guardian over an alleged security backdoor, WhatsApp is taking measures to protect users with two-step verification.

WhatsApp wants you to communicate securely.

On Friday, the Facebook-owned messaging service announced the implementation of two-step verification to improve security for its more than 1 billion monthly users. While it’s an optional security feature, it’ll make it significantly more difficult for a hacker or other ne’er-do-well to break into your account.

WhatsApp has been testing its two-step verification process since November, and is now beginning its rollout in phases. In order to turn on the feature, you’ll need to log into the app, find your way to the Settings page, then go to Account, where you can enable the security measure.

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Once activated, you’ll have to enter a six-digit security code alongside your phone number and text or voice call verification. Moreover, a security code will need to be re-entered every seven days to maintain peak security. If you happen you forget the code, you can register an email address with WhatsApp. “We do not verify this email address to confirm its accuracy,” WhatsApp points out. “We highly recommend you provide an accurate email address so that you’re not locked out of your account if you forget your passcode.”

The messaging service also notes, “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.”

Earlier in the year, WhatsApp became embroiled in a security debate with the Guardian, involving accusations of an alleged backdoor. Security experts later lambasted the publication for misleading the public regarding these supposed security flaws, but all the same, it looks like the app is stepping up its security measures. All in all, it’s a good thing for the multitude of users who depend upon the app to communicate with friends and family from around the world.