WhatsApp has been controversial over the past months because of several data breaches that hit the social messaging app. However, there’s a more sinister thing than the recent security hacks.

As Cybernews claimed in its report, an anonymous information leaker was allegedly selling nearly 500 million mobile phone numbers from different WhatsApp users around the world.

The investigation said that this was likely true, as the threat actor continues to post these items on sale.

WhatsApp Phone Numbers Are Posted For Sale

whatsapp, whatsapp data breach, whatsapp hack, security

(Photo : Rachit Tank from Unsplash)

Cybernews reported this week that a hacking community forum has a post where personal information was posted for sale as if they were products.

The ad, which came from an unknown actor, has a 2022 database of WhatsApp user mobile numbers from various parts of the world, such as the US, India, and Italy.

Because this is a sign that phishing threat actors are everywhere, every WhatsApp user should refrain from messaging or calling any unknown numbers on their devices.

How Much Does Each Dataset Cost

According to the threat actor, the data set covered millions of user records across Asia, Europe, and the Americas. More than 32 million data sets from the United States were posted, while 45 million came from Egypt.

Additionally, 35 million records were reportedly from Italy, while only 29 million data sets were from Saudi Arabia. Another 20 million records allegedly hailed from Turkey and France.

Even the UK people are in danger when it comes to cybersecurity loopholes in WhatsApp. The report suggests that more than 11 million phone numbers from the country are exposed, while almost 10 million phone numbers from Russian users are leaked online.

As a matter of fact, the data sets are very costly, as the threat actor said that the US dataset alone costs $7,000. On the other hand, the datasets from the UK ($2,500) and Germany($2,000) are quite cheaper.

The selling of phone numbers counts as a violation under WhatsApp’s Terms of Service. This trend is alarming to everyone who uses the platform regularly for messaging and video calling.

So far, the seller claims that they used a particular strategy for data collection of the numbers from WhatsApp.

Meta-Related Data Breaches

Data breaches are not new anymore to Meta since the tech giant was also involved in a massive information leak over the past year. Livemint reported that at that time, the leaker claimed that he leaked over 500 million personal information from Facebook users.

If Meta and other platforms are serious about protecting the consumer’s confidential data and information, they should revamp their cybersecurity practices. For the part of the users, using a reliable VPN or installing antivirus software could solve your issue, especially during this holiday season when shopping scammers are rampant across online websites.

Written by Joseph Henry


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