The story began more than a week ago, on November 16, with the publication of a post on a hacker forum, the author of which
offered the phone numbers of 487 million WhatsApp users for sale.
The tech portal Cybernews investigated whether the users’ data could really have been leaked – and it is assumed that it was. The portal managed to get in touch with the hacker selling the WhatsApp database, who verified the authenticity of the data and shared with them almost 2,000 phone numbers from active British and American users.
And the portal checked one by one and confirmed that they are indeed all WhatsApp users.
So it looks like the hacker really got access to the users’ data, but it is not known how.
It may affect 377,000 Hungarian users
In the Cybernews article, it was written that the database offered by the hacker contains users from 84 countries. The most users are Egyptian (45 million), Italian (35 million), American (32 million), Saudi (29 million), French (20 million) and Turkish (also 20 million). The table published by the portal also shows that 377,000 users from Hungary may be affected by the leak.
Whatsapp has an estimated 2 billion active users worldwide who log into the program at least once a month. Cybernews also sent questions to Meta, the operator of WhatsApp, regarding the data leak, but they have not yet received a response.
The portal also suggested that the hacker who sold the data might have obtained the users’ data using the (unauthorized) data collection or “scraping” tool on web interfaces. However, this is just an assumption on their part, based on the fact that hackers most often access such data packages with this device. Cybersnews also reminded that the same thing happened earlier in another meta data breach, when the data of 533 million Facebook users fell into unauthorized hands.
A data leak also occurred at Revolut a few weeks ago, when the company also admitted that unauthorized users had access to user data as a result of a hacker attack.
(Cover image: Shutterstock)