13 October 2022
Most instant messaging apps including WhatsApp and Telegram will allow anyone to message or add users to a group chat even if they are not in the user’s contact list. By default, group settings in both applications are set to Everyone or Everybody.
How to change group privacy settings
- Step 1: Navigate to WhatsApp Settings
- Step 2: Go to Account > Privacy > Groups
- Step 3: Select one of the options: Everyone, My Contacts, or My Contacts Except.
- To prevent Everyone from adding you to groups, select My Contacts or My Contacts Except. When someone without permission tries to add you to a group, they will be prompted to send you a group invite via a private message. This invite will expire after 72 hours.
- Step 1: Navigate to Telegram Settings
- Step 2: Go to Privacy and Security > Groups & Channels
- Step 3: Select one of the options: Everybody or My Contacts.
- To prevent Everybody from adding you to groups, select My Contacts. You can also set up Exceptions (Never Allow or Always Allow) to further specify who has permission to add you.
- Only download application from legitimate sources.
- Use the latest version of the application.
- Enable two factor authentication for all instant messaging applications.
- Always patch and update your operating system and antivirus.
- Instant messaging services will never ask you to confirm your identity, so ignore any fake messages that request your personal information – it is most likely a phishing attempt.
- Do not share any confidential information on any messaging platform.
- Use a strong password (minimum 10 characters, combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters) or use a passphrase.
- Block any suspicious contacts immediately.
- Cover your webcam when it is not in use.
- Back up your data frequently, preferably offline.