WhatsApp is implementing a new two-step verification feature that should enhance the data security aspects of the popular messaging app. The new feature is optional, and if enabled makes the job of someone breaking into your account significantly harder.
In order to enable two-step verification, go to Settings – Account – enable Two-step verification.
When enabled, you will be prompted to enter a six-digit security code as well as your phone number. You will need to do this once every 7 days. In the event that you forget your security code, you can register a new email address with WhatsApp, and use it to turn off the new feature. WhatsApp developers highly recommend that you use a legitimate email for this purpose, although they will not verify it themselves to confirm it is real.
The developers have introduced another fall-back measure designed to protect those who manage to forget their two-step passcode and have not associated an email address with their account. In case this happens, you will still be able to access it, but you will only be allowed to do so until 7 days have passed since last using WhatsApp.
However, if you reverify without your passcode, you will lose all pending messages as they will be deleted. According to the developers, if you reverify after 30 days of last using the app, and you do so without your passcode, your entire account will be deleted. After that, a new one will be created upon successful verification.
Recently, some vulnerabilities have been revealed in WhatsApp, and two-step verification is one method the developers are using to tackle the problem.