WhatsApp has announced additional security features for WhatsApp Web and desktop, which it says will add another layer of protection to a user’s account when they link it to their computer. WhatsApp will now take advantage of face or fingerprint unlock, where it is available on the mobile phone operating system when a user is linking it to the web version.
WhatsApp says that in order to link WhatsApp Web or Desktop to one’s account, they will now be asked to use face or fingerprint unlock on the phone, before scanning a QR code. At the moment, users just have to scan the QR code from the phone to link their WhatsApp account to the laptop or PC.
According to the company, this new security feature will “limit the chance that a housemate or officemate can link devices” to their WhatsApp account without the user finding out. Currently WhatsApp does notify users whenever Web/Desktop login occurs with a pop-up notification, but the new feature will add extra security. Users always have the ability to unlink devices from their phone at any time.
WhatsApp also that “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.”
The new security feature will be rolling out, alongside a visual redesign to the WhatsApp Web page on phones, to users with compatible devices over the coming weeks, according to the company.
WhatsApp is also working on video and audio calling for the web platform and while the feature has been spotted in beta testing it is yet to roll out to all users.
How to use WhatsApp Web
Open WhatsApp and go to Settings. You will see WhatsApp Web/Desktop as one option. Tap on this.
It will ask you to scan a QR code if it is not already linked to any web browser or desktop.
Open web.whatsapp.com on your desktop or laptop browser. Make sure the padlock symbol is present in front of the url.
Scan the QR code shown on the desktop/laptop browser with the WhatsApp Web/Desktop option the app. Your WhatsApp should now show on your laptop or desktop browser.
Remember you can see which devices are linked from the settings on your phone. You can tap on Log out from all devices, if you see an unfamiliar device where WhatsApp is linked.