Phone numbers of nearly 500 million WhatsApp users from 84 four countries have been posted on a hacking forum and are up for sale, as reported by cyber security news platform Cybernews.
The dataset reportedly contains personal information of 32 million US and 11 million UK users. Other countries include Egypt (45 million), Italy (35 million), Saudi Arabia (29 million), France (20 million), Turkey (20 million), and Morocco (19 million). (See the full list below)
Per report, the hacker is selling the data of US users for $7,000, UK users for $2,500 and German users for $2,000. Cybernews said that it investigated over 2 thousand phone numbers included in the sample and found that they were all WhatsApp users.
The report comes weeks after Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that WhatsApp offers more privacy and security than Apple’s iMessage.
‘’WhatsApp is far more private and secure than iMessage, with end-to-end encryption that works across both iPhones and Android, including group chats,’’ said Zuckerberg, in an Instagram post. ‘’With WhatsApp you can also set all new chats to disappear with the tap of a button. And last year we introduced end-to-end encrypted backups too. All of which iMessage still doesn’t have.’’
The popular messaging app, which now has more than 2 billion monthly active users, announced a security vulnerability in September which could enable threat actors to control users’ devices through remote code execution during video calls. Following the news, Telegram CEO Pavel Durov accused WhatsApp of having been a ‘’surveillance tool for 13 years’’.
‘’You can use any messaging app you like, but do stay away from WhatsApp,’’ said Pavel.
Here is the full list of countries that have reportedly been affected by the data leak.