Data of 500 million WhatsApp users leaked online
As reported by Bleeping Computer, On November 16, an actor posted an ad on a well-known hacking community forum, claiming they were selling a 2022 database of 487 million WhatsApp user mobile numbers.
The dataset allegedly contains WhatsApp user data from 84 countries. Threat actor claims there are over 32 million US user records included.
Another huge chunk of phone numbers belongs to the citizens of Egypt (45 million), Italy (35 million), Saudi Arabia (29 million), France (20 million), and Turkey (20 million).
The dataset for sale also allegedly has nearly 10 million Russian and over 11 million UK citizens' phone numbers.
The threat actor told Cybernews they were selling the US dataset for $7,000, the UK – $2,500, and Germany – $2,000. Such information is mostly used by attackers for smishing and vishing attacks, so we recommend users to remain wary of any calls from unknown numbers, unsolicited calls and messages.
"Although this hasn’t been confirmed by Meta yet, this is potentially a very alarming amount of leaked data across the world", Adeniran Omotade at ESET West Africa affirms. As well as the obvious marketing possibilities, threat actors could use the information to target people and allege to know them by confirming their name if they cross reference the number via an online search, he added.
Cybercriminals can do a lot of damage with just phone numbers, particularly if they know those numbers exist and are current. It’s just a matter of being creative. If true, this news may add META’s issues who recently paid a record-breaking fine for data protection violations.
Therefore, users should remain cautious of any phone calls or messages claiming to be someone or company and remain aware of the limitless possibilities of scams."
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