Phone numbers of approximately 500 million WhatsApp users have been placed up for sale online in what may be one of the worst data breaches ever. Cybernews claims that a hacker forum ad claims to be selling the mobile phone numbers of 487 million WhatsApp users from the year 2022. From the United States and the United Kingdom to Egypt, Italy, Saudi Arabia, and even India, the database comprises the cellphone numbers of WhatsApp users from 84 nations.
Phishing attacks are the most common use of this information by cybercriminals. Consequently, WhatsApp users must avoid communicating with strangers using the app.
A WHOPPING 500 MILLION WHATSAPP NUMBERS WERE FOR SALE.
It has been reported that a hacker is selling the phone numbers of around 487 million WhatsApp users from 84 countries and regions on an online forum. More than 32% of the 487 million mobile phone numbers came from the United States. An estimated 45 million were Egyptian, 5 million were Italian, and 29 million were Saudi.
Twenty million were sold in France and Turkey, ten million in Russia, and eleven million in the United Kingdom. A significant number of users in Brazil, one of the most important marketplaces, were compromised.
According to the report, the threat actor is asking $7,000 (which is equivalent to around 5,71,690) for the US dataset. On the other hand, the cost of the datasets for the United Kingdom and Germany is $2,500 (about 2,04,175) and $2,000 (approximately 1,63,340), respectively.
There is a certain amount of irony in the fact that this data leak occurred. Mark Zuckerberg made a statement not so long ago claiming that WhatsApp is much more private and safe than iMessage. Within a little less than a month, the green messenger will be in the midst of a major data breach.
Both Android and iOS versions of the app utilize end-to-end data encryption. When it comes to transmitting messages to Android smartphones, iMessage makes use of the “insecure” SMS protocol. Despite these security protocols, the app’s end-to-end encryption failed. Several global users’ phone numbers were leaked. WhatsApp may confirm the facts and provide further information. The corporation remains silent.
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 was making 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.
Tips To Protect Your WhatsApp
Each and every one of the phone numbers that have been provided here is at risk of being used for illegal purposes such as spamming, phishing, identity theft, and other forms of online criminality.
It’s true that there isn’t much anyone can do to stop the leak of private information, but then you can take certain precautions.
The first thing to do is to avoid responding quickly to texts from numbers you are unfamiliar with. If you receive a text message on WhatsApp from an unknown number asking for specifics or information, you should steer clear of responding to it under any circumstances. To be on the safe side, delete or block it.
You also have the option, inside the WhatsApp privacy settings, to conceal both your profile image and the information of your bio from anyone who aren’t already on your contact list. This can be done by clicking on the “Privacy” tab.