WhatsApp Data Breach: Hacker Sold Data of WhatsApp Phone Numbers of Nearly 500 Million Users
A study has revealed, in a surprising discovery, that the phone numbers of roughly 500 million WhatsApp users have been placed up for sale online. This news comes as a shock.
A report by Cybernews claims that the phone numbers of 487 million WhatsApp users have been compromised and are currently being offered for sale on an online hacking platform.
This private information is said to be kept in a database that dates back to 2022 and has information on users from 84 different countries, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Egypt, Italy, and India.
According to the hacker who was responsible for the attack, every one of the phone numbers in question is associated with an “active” WhatsApp user. The report claims that the stolen information has the phone numbers of more than 32 million customers in the United States and more than 11.5 million users in the United Kingdom.
On the other hand, it seems that Egyptian users were affected the most severely by the attack, with over 45 million users perhaps being put in danger. Reports say that the database has contact information for more than 11 million people from the UK and about 10 million people from Russia.
According to the report, the potential risk actor is asking $7,000 (approx. Rs 5,71,690) for the US dataset.while the cost of the datasets for the United Kingdom and Germany is $2,500 (about equivalent to Rs. 2,04,175) and $2,000 (roughly equivalent to Rs. 1,63,340), respectively.
The study goes on to say that the assertion made by the vendor is entirely hypothetical. The majority of the time, enormous data sets that are published online were obtained by scraping, which is a violation of WhatsApp’s Terms of Service.
However, the vendor asserts that all of the numbers are associated with current users of the platform that is controlled by Meta. Even though it did not define how he received the database, the seller claimed that they “used their approach” to get the data, even though it did not disclose how he obtained the information.
Meta and its platforms have been in the news before for data breaches, so this is not the first time they have done so. The previous year, a leaker made available online for free the personal information of more than 500 million Facebook members. The data that was then compromised contained phone numbers as well as other specifics.