WhatsApp data leak: Phone numbers of nearly 500 million active users on sale, says report

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Phone numbers of nearly 500 million WhatsApp users are on sale on the Dark web. In one of the biggest data breaches, the data is up on a hacking forum. 

Despite its encrypted messages and modern security forum, the data was hacked. It’s still not determined how the data was obtained by the hacker.  

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WhatsApp has nearly 2 billion users out of which data of 487 million users is up for sale from 84 countries including the US, UK, Turkey, and France, as per a report by Cybernews.

In its report, it further mentioned that the leaked data is of active users. 

The seller posted that the phone numbers of 32 million users from the US, 11 million from the UK, 10 million users from Russia, and six million users from India who are registered are at risk.

The report further mentions that the US dataset costs around $7,000 and the UK costs $2,500. Cybernews further claimed that they contacted the hacker to know if it was true. The hacker then provided numbers of over 1,000 users from the UK as proof.

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This is not the first time the data of the Meta-owned platform has been leaked. A similar instance happened last year when data of 500 million Facebook users got leaked including India. 

This is a matter of concern as the listed phone numbers listed could fall prey to spamming, phishing, and even major criminal activities. 

WhatsApp users need to be careful. Do not respond to an unknown number or messages. This is because hackers might use information through smishing and vishing. Smishing and vishing mean that the hackers will use fraudulent links through a text or voicemail. Clicking on these links or responding to them might lead users to lose critical data or their money. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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