On Monday this week, the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies released a statement to say that Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams’s WhatsApp account had been hacked…

According to the department, private and confidential information was obtained by the hackers.

“This illegal activity has been reported to relevant authorities and platform owners for action,” said the department. “Obtaining and distributing information that is illegally obtained is a crime and offenders will be reported to legal authorities.”

The department did not release any further information on how her account was accessed.

All4Women reached out to cyber security experts, Kaspersky, to find out how WhatsApp accounts can be hacked, and what we can do to protect ourselves.

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According to the experts, cybersecurity is a top priority for all social media platforms. “Much effort is undertaken to prevent attacks every day.”

“However, it must be noted that neither website or software is entirely immune to security bugs and of course the human factor is also not immune to mistakes.”

Everything is hackable

According to Kaspersky, “everything is hackable and any service can be compromised, especially considering how sophisticated cybercriminals are becoming and the lengths they will go to, to compromise a victim.”

In this digital world we live in, one in which we rely heavily on social media accounts and messaging services, Kaspersky offers the following advice regarding WhatsApp security:

  • Ensure your WhatsApp is always up to date. To do that, go to the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, look for WhatsApp and hit Update.
  • Do not click on any links received in messages from unknown sources or contacts.
  • Practice caution when clicking on links received from known sources and contacts.
  • Don’t open or store unfamiliar files, as they could be malicious.
  • Activate 2FA (Two-factor authentication) on WhatsApp and similar instant messaging (IM) apps – in an attempt to minimise WhatsApp hijacking, activating Two-factor authentication using a six-digit PIN on your device is critical. This supports the user in having an additional layer of security on the device.
  • Ensure your device is protected with a reliable security solution that can support in protecting your device and the apps that you use.
Here’s how YOU can protect your account

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