Half a billion WhatsApp users potentially exposed to spam and scams

Last update: November 24, 2022 at 16:04 UTC + 01:00

A database containing the phone numbers of a quarter of WhatsApp users was recently put up for sale in a hacking community forum. The seller claims that the database is up-to-date and contains 487 million phone numbers of active WhatsApp users in 84 countries.

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WhatsApp has around 2 billion users, which means that this database is supposed to contain the phone numbers of a quarter of the WhatsApp users. According to the poster, the database contains the phone numbers of more than 32 million users in the US, 45 million from Egypt, 35 million from Italy, 29 million from Saudi Arabia, 20 million (each) from France and Turkey, and 10 million phone numbers. of Russian users, and more than 11 million numbers in the UK.

A quarter of active WhatsApp users are likely to be exposed to spam and phishing attempts

source (trans Internet news) did not disclose how they obtained half a billion phone numbers of active WhatsApp users, but said that they “used their strategy.” However, it is possible that the database was compiled through a process known as “scraping”, which involves collecting data from websites. In other words, WhatsApp wasn’t hacked, but these bad actors may have collected close to 500 million phone numbers from web pages, confirmed that they are used in WhatsApp, and put them up for sale.

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This database can be used for spam, phishing attempts, and other such activities. There is no way to know if your phone number is in this database. But if you want to keep your WhatsApp profile picture and status safe from possible prying eyes who might have obtained your phone number, you can open the app, go to “settings,” followed by “Privacy,” And change the settings like “Last seen and connected”, “profile picture” And the “Around” to me Contacts only.

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