The data of nearly 500 million WhatsApp users has allegedly been leaked online, according to a report by Cybernews.com.
The dataset is reported to contain the phone numbers of 487 million WhatsApp users from 84 countries, including the US. It is said that the data was leaked onto an underground forum popular with hackers.
The countries with the most people affected by the alleged leak are Egypt (44.8 million), Italy (35.6 million), and the US (32.3 million). Below is the full list.
Reporters over at Cybernews.com were able to get their hands on a sample of the dataset from the hacker and verified its legitimacy, with all 1900+ numbers they received confirmed to belong to WhatsApp users.
It is currently unclear how the hacker obtained the data, and there has been no official word from Meta (WhatsApp’s parent company) about the alleged incident as of yet.
What You Should Do
Although the leak hasn’t yet been confirmed by Meta, if you’re a WhatsApp user, it is strongly recommended that you turn on two-factor authentication (2FA), if you haven’t already.
Additionally, criminals will often use leaked phone numbers to send people smishing (SMS phishing) scams like the WhatsApp verification code scam from last year. These text message scams will most likely claim that there is an urgent problem you need to resolve — an issue with the security of your bank account, for example — and instruct you to click on a link. Such links lead to malicious websites designed to trick you into sharing more personal information or inadvertently parting with money. If you’re a WhatsApp user, be on alert for such scams.
Also, consider downloading our 100% free scam detection tool Trend Micro Check. It can keep you safe from scam text messages, so you don’t have to worry about getting tricked.
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