Nearly 500 Mn Users’ Phone Numbers At Risk

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A database containing phone numbers of 487 Mn WhatsApp users was put on sale on a hacking community forum

The dataset contains WhatsApp user data from 84 countries

While the seller did not specify how he obtained the database, he claims that all the numbers are of active WhatsApp users

Meta-owned messaging service WhatsApp is again under scanner for an alleged database leak case. A database containing phone numbers of 487 Mn WhatsApp users was put on sale on a hacking community forum by an unknown seller, according to a report by Cybernews.com.

The dataset contains WhatsApp user data from 84 countries including data records of 32 Mn US users, the report added.

Among other countries, WhatsApp users from Egypt (45 Mn), Italy (35 Mn), Saudi Arabia (29 Mn), France (20 Mn), and Turkey (20 Mn), account for a huge chunk of data records that have been leaked.

The dataset for sale also allegedly has nearly 10 Mn Russian and more than 11 Mn UK citizens’ phone numbers.

However, the report does not specify how it may have affected the Indian users.

The data seller is allegedly selling the US dataset for $7,000. In addition, the cost for the UK and Germany datasets is $2,500 and $2,000, respectively.

While the seller did not specify how he obtained the database, he claims that all the numbers belong to active WhatsApp users, as per the report.

Last month, WhatsApp suffered a partial or total outage in India. In addition, users from Europe and other parts of the world have also reported an outage.

After the global outage, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) directed the messaging platform to file a report on the matter, asking the platform to share reasons for the disruption.

WhatsApp is one of the most widely used messaging apps in the country with around 550 Mn users. Although there are other messaging services such as Telegram, Signal, operating in India, the popularity of WhatsApp remains unbeaten.

The Meta-owned messaging platform came under fire recently following another instance when the Competition Commission of India (CCI) was allowed by the Supreme Court to conduct an investigation into its privacy policy updated back in March 2021.



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