WhatsApp, which has more than two billion userbase, seems to be in trouble again for data and privacy. A report from Cybernews claims that the data of around 500 million WhatsApp users has been leaked online and put up for sale on a hacking community forum by an anonymous seller.
While the social media company is yet to confirm anything on this, the report claims that it investigated several data samples, which revealed the leak is true. The leak has reportedly affected as many as 80 countries, including Russia, Italy, Egypt, Brazil, Spain, and more. The list also includes India. The cited source has shared a chart via its Twitter handle, which shows that data of more than 6 million people has been leaked online.
The report asserts that the threat actor is selling the US dataset for $7,000, the UK for $2,500, and Germany for $2,000. It didn’t reveal the price of other regions, including India. It is currently unknown how the hacker managed to gather the phone numbers of millions of active WhatsApp users.
The report suggests that it might not be WhatsApp’s fault and that the hacker could have done that using a process known as “scraping.” In this case, the data is obtained from different websites, instead of any cyberattack. So, there are chances that the phone numbers might have been procured from web pages.
The leaked data can be used by hackers for spamming, phishing attempts, identity theft and other cybercriminal activities. The cited source asserts that one won’t be able to find out if their number is in the database but users can try and avoid scamming attempts by not paying attention to those.