“The claim written on Cybernews is based on unsubstantiated screenshots. There is no evidence of a ‘data leak’ from WhatsApp.” – a WhatsApp Spokesperson.
WhatsApp is typically regarded as a secure cross-platform instant messaging service that runs on practically any device thanks to technology like end-to-end encryption. But according to a recent allegation from Cybernews, someone managed to hack WhatsApp and acquired the personal information of almost 500 million users, which is now purportedly for sale.
In a hacking site, an actor allegedly advertised the sale of over 487 million WhatsApp users’ personal information, including their cell numbers. Additionally, the listing states that the user data includes 32 million US users and comes from 84 different nations.
The list of compromised data also contains user data from countries like Egypt, Italy, Saudi Arabia, France, and Turkey. It is also interesting that the list does not have any user data from India. One can buy the US database of WhatsApp users for $7,000 while the UK and Germany’s database is priced at $2,500 and $2,000, respectively.
When cybernews asked for a sample, the hacker sent a tiny amount of data that includes user information for 1097 US phone numbers and 817 UK phone numbers. These obtained phone numbers could be used for impersonation, phishing, and other fraudulent operations.
Meta has not yet replied to this update. Currently, it is believed that the 500 million WhatsApp users’ data was taken by web harvesting or web scraping, which involves using an automated data tool to gather information from a particular site in violation of WhatsApp’s terms of service.