WhatsApp data leak: 500 mn users’ phone numbers from 84 countries, including India, up for sale

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Personal information of users of the Meta-owned instant messaging platform WhatsApp, such as mobile phone numbers, has reportedly been breached and is up for sale on a well-known hacking community forum.

According to a CyberNews report, some people posted an advertisement on the hacking community forum on November 16 and were selling the 2022 database of mobile numbers of around 487 million WhatsApp users. The reports, confirmed by multiple sources, are likely to be true.

This database of WhatsApp users includes data from 84 countries (including India) and suggests that nearly one-quarter of WhatsApp’s estimated two billion active monthly users are potentially at risk.

Reportedly, there are over 6 million records of Indian WhatsApp users on sale. Apart from Indian users, the report also claimed that US users have more than 32 million mobile numbers, 45 million contacts from Egypt, 35 million from Italy, 29 million from Saudi Arabia, 20 million from France and approx. 20 million.

According to the report, the hackers were selling the US dataset for $7,000, UK for $2,500 and Germany for $2,000.

This type of personal user information, such as leaked phone numbers, is mostly used for marketing and phishing, impersonation, and fraud attacks.

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