32 million US user records for Sale following WhatsApp Data leaks!

A data sample investigated by Cybernews likely confirms that someone is selling up-to-date mobile-phone numbers of nearly 500 million WhatsApp users.

On November 16, a 2022 database of 487 million WhatsApp user mobile numbers was put on sale on a well-known hacking community forum. 

The dataset is believed to contain WhatsApp user data from 84 countries.The threat actor also claims there are over 32 million US user records included.

Another huge chunk of phone numbers is from Egypt (45 million), Italy (35 million), France (20 million), Saudi Arabia (29 million) and Turkey (20 million).

The dataset for sale is also alleged to have 10 million Russian and over 11 million UK citizens’ phone numbers.

The hacker told Cybernews they were selling the UK dataset for – $2,500, Germany – $2,000 and the US – $7,000.

This type of information is usually used by attackers for smishing and vishing attacks. We recommend users to remain careful of any calls from unknown numbers, unsolicited calls and messages.

In a conversation with cybernews, the seller did not indicate how they obtained the database, claiming they “used their strategy” to collect the data and assured that all the numbers in the instance belong to active WhatsApp users.
WhatsApp’s parent company, Meta, did not give immediate response to Cybernews. 

WhatsApp is reported to have more than 2 billion monthly active users globally.

Upon request of Cybernews researchers, the seller of the database shared a sample of phone numbers. There were 1097 UK and 817 US user numbers in the shared sample.

After investigation, the researches concluded that all the numbers included in the sample are, in fact, WhatsApp users.

Whatsapp’s parent company Meta, has been long criticized for letting third parties scrape or collect user data. Lately, the company saw over 533 million user records leaked on a dark forum. The dataset was practically given for free.

This types of data leaks are becoming more and more frequent. Days after the 2021 Facebook data leak made the headlines, an archive of data purportedly scraped from 500 million LinkedIn profiles had been also put for sale on a popular hacker forum. 
Leaked phone numbers could be used for marketing purposes, phishing, impersonation and fraud. 
Also in August 2022, a data set of records of millions of twitter users were put on sale on another popular hacking forum.

Regular users should adopt common cybersecurity measures in order to prevent consequences of personal data leaks such as phishing attacks. Some of the protection mesures include a reliable antivirus that blocks various cyberthreats, or VPNs for WhatsApp on the market that encrypt your data. 

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