WhatsApp Now Requires Biometric Authentication for Desktop, Web Access

From PC Mag: WhatsApp now requires biometric ID confirmation when running the messaging platform on desktop or the web. The Facebook-owned company this week introduced an added layer of protection to curb account hacking.

Starting today, users logging in to WhatsApp on the web, desktop, or Portal must pass their device's system authentication before scanning the QR code for access. Verification is handled entirely by your device's operating system, using its stored biometrics; WhatsApp cannot access that private information. It can, however, force people to comply: The new feature is active by default, according to Engadget. The only way to avoid triggering it is to completely switch off face or fingerprint unlock on your handset.

And while WhatsApp won't request any further confirmation from users with the feature turned off, it does recommend that "if you have a device with biometric authentication, you set it up for additional protection," a spokesperson told PCMag in an email.

The chat service came under fire recently when it published a new privacy policy, set to take effect on Feb. 8, that allows WhatsApp to collect and share data (phone numbers, photos, contacts, financial transactions) with Facebook and its other subsidiaries—without the ability to opt out.

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