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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

WhatsApp hacks in Yucatán reach ‘alarming rates’

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
Many hackers target senior citizens they assume to not be tech savvy. Photo: Getty Images

Over the past few days in Yucatán, a growing number of people are reporting having their WhatsApp accounts hacked. 

The cyber attacks are apparently being used to intimidate folks or extort financial resources. 

Among the most high-profile individuals to have their WhatsApp account hacked is Progreso Mayor Julián Zacarías Curi. 

Though there are no official numbers on just how many accounts have been compromised, state police say they are receiving complaints at an alarming rate. 

“We recommend that everyone enable two-step verification on their WhatsApp accounts and not share their account with anyone,” reads a statement from the state police. 

This sentiment has been seconded by WhatsApp’s parent company Meta, as well as various cybersecurity experts, including Hugo López of Hals Intelligence. 

Earlier: Women in Mexico turn to social media for protection against violence

After gaining access to WhatsApp accounts, hackers are able to access all contacts, user information as well as sensitive data.

Fake messages appear to originate from a trusted contact, thus making the victim’s friends’ accounts vulnerable.

A similar problem exists with another of Meta’s instant messaging applications, Facebook messenger, where criminals often create duplicate accounts using the same profile photo. 

To enable two-step verification on WhatsApp first open settings, account, and then two-step verification and click enable. The application will then require you to enter a six-digit PIN as well as to provide an email address.


For further assistance, check out WhatsApp’s two-step verification and security support page.

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