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WhatsApp may face real heat, phone numbers of 500 million WhatsApp users up for sale online: Report

The phone numbers of nearly 500 million WhatsApp are on sale at a known hacking forum online, Cybernews has said in a report.

WhatsApp may face real heat, phone numbers of 500 million WhatsApp users up for sale online: Report
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WhatsApp may face real heat, phone numbers of 500 million WhatsApp users up for sale online: Report 

  • Whatsapp
  • Telegram
  • Linkedin
  • Print
  • koo
  • Whatsapp
  • Telegram
  • Linkedin
  • Print
  • koo
  • Whatsapp
  • Telegram
  • Linkedin
  • Print
  • koo

The phone numbers of nearly 500 million WhatsApp are on sale at a known hacking forum online, Cybernews has said in a report.

The data contains numbers from 84 countries and the account that put the data for sale claims that there are 32 million US user records within the set.

There are nearly 45 million numbers from Egypt, 35 million from Italy, 29 million from Saudi Arabia, 20 million from France and 20 million belong to Turkey.

It also has 10 million numbers from Russia and over 11 million UK numbers. The person who put it up for sale told Cybernews that they were selling the US dataset for $7,000, the UK one for $2,500 and the Germany data for $2,000.

These numbers are used by threat actors in phishing schemes, so be wary of responding to calls or messages from unknown numbers.

Cybernews said that when requested, the seller shared a small sample of 817 US-based numbers as proof. The publication investigated the numbers and confirmed that they were all from WhatsApp accounts.

The seller did not say how he acquired the set, other than that he used "strategy" to collect the data. He also assured the publication that all the numbers listed were from active WhatsApp accounts.

"In this age, we all leave a sizeable digital footprint – and tech giants like Meta should take all precautions and means to safeguard that data," said Mantas Sasnauskas, head of Cybernews research team.

"We should ask whether an added clause of 'scraping or platform abuse is not permitted in the Terms and Conditions' is enough. Threat actors don't care about those terms, so companies should take rigorous steps to mitigate threats and prevent platform abuse from a technical standpoint," Sasnauskas added.


Dwaipayan Bhattacharjee
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