If you have any questions about information security (antivirus, hacking, cybercrime, data theft, etc.), send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The column answers questions left by readers on Thursdays.
Backup configuration of WhatsApp allows you to recover conversations on a new device. – Photo: Reproduction
WhatsApp 'cloned' and lost conversations
I had my WhatsApp cloned and it was a night of martyrdom. From now on, I'm following security procedures.
There is one thing that bothers me a lot: all the conversations and files are gone. Is there any way that I can recover all of this? – Antônio Fernando
When you reactivate WhatsApp on the same phone, all conversations should return. No text or image should be lost.
If you use Android, it is possible that the old images are still located in a folder called "WhatsApp" on your phone's storage. You can access this folder by connecting your phone via USB to a computer. The files will be disorganized, but they should still be there.
If you use iPhone, WhatsApp uses private storage and there is no easy method of accessing it.
There are programs that try to scour your smartphone to reconstruct your message history, but the blog cannot recommend these tools. In general, you need to pay to purchase the software and they are not very cheap (about $ 50, which at the current quote would be over $ 250). It is also not possible to guarantee that the tool will work.
You can seek technical assistance you trust and ask if they have tools for retrieving mobile data. But remember the risks of handing over a personal device to others.
As always, prevention is easier than cure. If you want to save a message or image received by WhatsApp, you have 3 resources for this:
- To save audios and videos received by WhatsApp, it is possible to use the "Share" feature to send the files to yourself by email. You can also use WhatsApp Web to download using your computer (there is even a specific download button when you click on an audio).
- You can save an entire WhatsApp conversation with the "Export conversation" function. This button can be found in the menu three points of the contact, in the item "more" and then "Export conversation".
- WhatsApp backup can be performed directly on an online storage service, such as Google Drive or iCloud. This option allows you to recover all WhatsApp conversations after the smartphone is restored to factory defaults or after changing the device. However, it does not provide easy access to specific conversations. If you are unable to recover this backup, all files will be lost. The backup is located in Settings (three point menu)> Conversations> Conversation backup.
WhatsApp 'Export Conversation' function can be used to archive specific conversations. – Photo: Reproduction
Although WhatsApp backup (option 3) is very convenient to restore all conversations at once, saving conversations or media individually keeps you in control of your data.
WhatsApp does not work like Facebook Messenger or Skype, where conversations are stored on a server to which you connect to use the service.
It saves messages on your own smartphone. If you are not careful to keep important information, only your contacts can have a copy of the conversation.
In general, sharing important photos and audios through WhatsApp is a bad idea. As an application designed for use on cell phones, it applies data compression that sacrifices the quality of photos, audios and videos, but speeds up the transmission of content on mobile phone networks.
On the small screen and the cell phone speaker, you won't notice. But it is very easy to see the differences in the images and videos transmitted by WhatsApp on a larger screen.
If you want to share important files, choose other tools. You can use email for smaller files and cloud storage services with a sharing function (like Google Drive, OneDrive or Dropbox). These services do not alter your files, ensuring the highest possible quality.
My Google account has been disabled for violation of terms. Is it possible to report exactly which terms of service have been violated? I am not aware of this act, that is, it was violated without wanting to harm. I really need that account. – Tainara
Before panicking, it is important to make sure that the message in question is true. The threat that your account will be disabled is one of the most common scams on the internet.
This is not the case only with Google: most digital services do not specify how the alleged breach occurred or which breach was detected.
It is also not uncommon for accounts to be closed without sending any prior warning.
Although it is possible to "contest" the decision in some circumstances, the lack of information on the reason for the closure precludes any justification or explanation that could prove that there was no intentional violation of the terms.
One reason for this stance by companies that provide services on the Internet is the need not to reveal details about how their security systems detect improper behavior to automatically block accounts.
If criminals misuse online service accounts and those accounts are blocked, platforms don't want these criminals to know how it happened. If they know how it all works, criminals can adapt their techniques to bypass security systems next time.
Since there is no specific way to obtain more information about this process, your only way out is to seek your rights as a consumer in the courts.
Questions about digital security? Send an email to email@example.com.