500 million WhatsApp mobile phone numbers are up for grabs on the dark web
A malicious actor has posted a data dump that allegedly contains the mobile phone numbers of 500 million confirmed WhatsApp users on a dark web forum.
According to investigators at Cybernews, the sales listing has been active since Nov. 16. Upon reaching the seller, researchers were given a small data sample, which included the phone numbers of 1,097 UK numbers and 817 US numbers.
“Cybernews investigated all the numbers included in the sample and managed to confirm that all of them are, in fact, WhatsApp users,” the researchers said.
“The seller did not specify how they obtained the database, suggesting they “used their strategy” to collect the data, and assured Cybernews all the numbers in the instance belong to active WhatsApp users.”
The leaked data allegedly includes phone numbers of WhatsApp users in 84 countries, including Egypt (44.8 million), Italy (35.6 million), US (32.3 million), Saudi Arabia (28.8 million), France (19.8 million), Turkey (19.6 million) and Germany (6 million).
What are your risks?
Identity thieves and scammers can use leaked phone numbers to defraud victims.
If your phone number ends up in the wrong hands, cybercriminals can conduct social engineering attacks, including phishing via text (smishing) or directly calling (vishing) you to:
- Steal personally identifiable information (PII) and money
- Persuade you to install spyware/malware on your device
- Harass you and your family members
- Reroute messages or conduct SIM swap scams
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