According to reports, WhatsApp has two billion active users worldwide, is ranked as the most-used mobile messenger app in the world with more than 100 billion messages being sent each day on the app and the average user on Android spends 38 minutes per day on the app.
WhatsApp introduced end-to-end encryption to ensure the information of users is secure
End-to-end encryption ensures only you and the person you’re communicating with can read or listen to what is sent, and nobody in between, not even WhatsApp. This is because, with end-to-end encryption, your messages are secured with a lock, and only the recipient and you have the special key needed to unlock and read them.
However, a recent report by Cybernews indicates that hackers have gotten data from nearly 500 million WhatsApp users and are auctioning it in the black market.
“A data sample investigated by Cybernews likely confirms this to be true. On November 16, an actor posted an ad on a well-known hacking community forum, claiming they were selling a 2022 database of 487 million WhatsApp user mobile numbers,” read a statement by Cybernews.
The hacker claimed access to WhatsApp user data from 84 countries. Countries with the highest leaked WhatsApp contact numbers include Egypt (45 million), Italy (35 million), Saudi Arabia (29 million), France (20 million), and Turkey (20 million).
“The dataset for sale also allegedly has nearly 10 million Russian and over 11 million UK citizens’ phone numbers.”
The cybersecurity research platform alleged that the hackers were selling the US dataset for $7,000, the UK – for $2,500, and Germany – for $2,000.
The site noted that the database could be obtained by harvesting information at scale, also known as scraping, which violates WhatsApp’s Terms of Service.