WhatsApp might have become a victim of a major data breach. As per a recent report, around 500 million WhatsApp phone numbers have been leaked and are up for sale. These numbers are from 84 countries, including India. Check out the details below for more information.
WhatsApp Data Leak Affects Nearly 500M Accounts
A report by CyberNews reveals that a threat actor posted an ad on a hacking community forum to sell the data of 487 million WhatsApp users. The database included data belonging to around 32 million users in the US, 45 million in Egypt, 29 million in Saudi Arabia, 35 million in Italy, and over 11 million users in the UK. Data of millions of people in India, Russia, and more countries were leaked too.
It is said that the cybercriminal was selling the data for $7,000 (~ Rs 5,71,000) in the US, $2,500 (~ Rs 2,04,000) in the UK, and $2000 (~ Rs 1,63,000) in Germany.
If leaked, the WhatsApp numbers and other data can be used by malicious actors for scams, phishing, and more online crimes.
The report highlights that the threat actor was approached to see if the data is genuine and turned out, it was. The dataset had genuine 1,097 numbers and 817 WhatsApp phone numbers in the UK and the US, respectively. However, there’s no word on how the data was acquired.
CyberNews reached out to Meta (previously Facebook), which has had its share of data breaches in the past. Back in 2021, over 500 million users’ Facebook data was leaked on a hacking forum, affecting over 6 million users in India. There isn’t any comment on the same at the moment. Plus, there’s no way to figure out the users who have been affected.
Although CyberNews has a way for you to check if your data has ever been leaked, Just head to this website and enter your number or email to find the answer. If your account has been compromised, it’s best to change your passwords and add extra layers of security like 2FA. Since it’s data leak on a huge scale, it’s best advised to stay safe and you can ensure this by not falling for suspicious links or WhatsApp messages. In case you come across any, just report them.
Update 1 (29/11/2022 12:10 pm)
WhatsApp has provided an official statement on the matter. A WhatsApp spokesperson has said, “The claim written on Cybernews is based on unsubstantiated screenshots. There is no evidence of a ‘data leak’ from WhatsApp.”
In addition, CyberNews’ Chief Editor, Jurgita Lapienytė, has suggested that there’s no confirmation about the hack.
There's no evidence WhatsApp has been hacked. The leak might be a scrape but that doesn't mean it's any less dangerous for the affected users. https://t.co/7x9aDFaKQa
— Jurgita Lapienytė (@lapienyte) November 26, 2022