NEW DELHI: A hacker allegedly uploaded a dataset containing the personal information of nearly 500 million WhatsApp users to the dark web.
In the post, which was submitted to the hacking community BreachForums on November 16, the hacker claimed to be selling the current personal data of 487 million WhatsApp users from 84 countries. The alleged hacker stated in the post that purchasers of the information would receive “quite recent cellphone numbers” of WhatsApp users.
The breach was first reported by the technology news website CyberNews, which claimed to have “investigated” a portion of the data set provided by the hacker. CyberNews reports that the website was able to confirm that 1,914 phone numbers provided by the hacker belonged to WhatsApp users, indicating that the hacker’s allegations were “likely…to be accurate.”
According to the malicious actor, the 487 million data contain the information of 32 million American users, 11 million British users, and six million German users. The hacker reportedly told CyberNews that they were selling each of these data sets for US$7,000, US$2,500, and US$2,000, respectively.
The hacker did not explain how they obtained such a big quantity of user data, stating only that they “applied their approach” to obtain it.
This discovery comes only days after it was claimed that WhatsApp’s parent company, Meta, terminated employees for allegedly violating Facebook’s terms of service by hacking into user accounts.
Meta has since refuted the data leak, with an unnamed official contacting various news outlets on November 28 to deny the reports. The WhatsApp representative has reportedly stated that the CyberNews article is based on “unsubstantiated screenshots” and that “there is no evidence of a ‘data leak’ from WhatsApp.”
WhatsApp officials suggested that no data leak has happened. “The claim written on Cybernews is based on unsubstantiated screenshots. There is no evidence of a ‘data leak’ from WhatsApp,” the company’s spokesperson said.
This WhatsApp data leak has escalated the anxiety of its users. Here are the tips to check whether your data has been compromised. You can do so by following these steps:
- Visit https://cybernews.com/personal-data-leak-check/
- Input your mobile number or email address into the search bar.
- Then, click the Check Now button.
- A search result will then appear, allowing you to determine whether your data has been compromised or not.
Perform this in case of a data breach.
If you notice your email address in the search results, you should immediately reset your email password. It is preferable to select a password that is tough to crack. Alternatively, if your cell number has been compromised, you should avoid answering calls from unknown numbers. Avoid clicking on any suspicious links provided via SMS.
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