In another major data leak, records of 500 million people using WhatsApp messenger are up for sale on a popular hacking forum. The record includes phone numbers of users from 84 countries including 6 million Indian WhatsApp users, according to a Cybernews report. The data breach has affected one-fourth of the platform’s total active users, which is reported to have more than two billion monthly active users globally.
#WhatsApp #dataleak: 500 million user records for sale. The #threat actor told @CyberNews they were selling the #US #dataset for $7,000, the #UK – $2,500, and #Germany – $2,000. Check if your country has been affected. Read more: https://t.co/YT8CwV2cLo#cybersecurity #infosec pic.twitter.com/ZsfakpLC3A
— CyberNews (@CyberNews) November 26, 2022
Reportedly, a threat actor posted an ad to sell a list of WhatsApp data, claiming they were selling WhatsApp mobile numbers of 487 million users. Of them, 32 million are from the US, 45 million are from Egypt, 35 million are from Italy, and 10 million are from Russia. Further, the threat actor told Cybernews that they were selling the US dataset for $7,000, the UK for $2,500, and Germany for $2,000.
However, WhatsApp has denied the claims. “The claim written on Cybernews is based on unsubstantiated screenshots. There is no evidence of a ‘data leak’ from WhatsApp,” said a spokesperson.
In its report, Cybernews said the seller shared 1,097 UK-based and 817 US-based numbers as proof and the publication confirmed that they were all from WhatsApp accounts.
The hacker did not specify how they obtained the data. They allegedly harvested the data by a method known as Scraping. The information is mostly used for cyber crimes like smishing and vishing.
This isn’t the first time when Meta has faced a data leak. In 2021, information about more than 500 million users of Facebook was offered online for free. Similarly, in 2019, data from 419 million Facebook and 49 million Instagram users were exposed.