A post on a “well-known hacking community forum” claims that nearly half a billion WhatsApp records have been compromised and are up for sale.
The post, which has been confirmed by multiple sources to be genuine, claims to be selling an up-to-date 2022 database of 487 million WhatsApp mobile numbers that includes data from 84 countries.
This means that nearly a quarter of all WhatsApp’s estimated two billion monthly active users could be at risk.
WhatsApp data breach
More than 32 million of the leaked records are said to come from US users, with 11 million from UK users. Other affected nations include Egypt (45 million), Italy (35 million), Saudi Arabia (29 million), France (20 million), Turkey (20 million) and Russia (10 million).
It appears that country-by-country data is up for grabs, with the US dataset costing $7,000 and UK figures for a similar amount per capita of $2,500.
Most worryingly, this does not seem like an empty promise to threaten the Meta-owned company, with nearly 2,000 numbers shared cybernews in the sample request verified as WhatsApp users.
Leaked phone numbers can be used for many reasons, including marketing and phishing, highlighting the importance of a good identity theft protection tool.
This isn’t the first time WhatsApp has made headlines over data security, and while it may not be alone, its history has been plagued with security holes and scams.
TechRadar Pro contacted Meta to verify the authenticity of this seller’s claims and to obtain further comments, which will be posted here if and when we receive them.
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