Following reports that the phone numbers of nearly 500 million WhatsApp users were being sold on the Dark Web, the company denied that any of its data had been compromised. According to a report by Cybernews, WhatsApp has nearly two billion users, out of which 487 million users’ data from 84 countries, including the US, UK, Turkey, and France, is for sale.
‘The Cybernews article’s assertion is supported only by fictitious screenshots. No proof of a ‘data breach’ from WhatsApp exists’,a WhatsApp representative informed WION. It stated that ‘the alleged list is a series of phone numbers, and not WhatsApp user information’. The safety of the platform’s encrypted conversations and cutting-edge security forum is a topic of discussion following Cybernews’ investigation. How the hacker got the numbers he claims to have still remains a mystery.
It also said in their study that the stolen data came from actual consumers. 32 million registered users from the US, 11 million from the UK, 10 million from Russia, and 6 million from India have their phone numbers at danger, according to the seller’s message. The US dataset costs around $7,000, while the UK dataset costs $2,500, according to the article. Cybernews said that they got in touch with the hacker to find out whether it was real. The hacker then gave proof in the form of over 1,000 UK user numbers, according to NDTV.
The information from the platform held by Meta has been compromised before. A similar incident occurred last year when data from 500 million Facebook users, including India, was compromised. The given phone numbers might be used for spamming, phishing, and possibly serious criminal activity, which is a cause for alarm.
Users using WhatsApp should exercise caution. Never reply to texts or calls from unknown numbers. This is because smishing and vishing might be used by hackers to obtain information. Smishing and vishing refer to hacker usage of fake links delivered over text or voicemail. Users risk losing important data or money if they click on these sites or take their advice.