A database containing the phone numbers of a quarter of all its users WhatsApp it was recently put up for sale on a hacking community forum. According to the vendor, the database was recent and contained 487 million phone numbers belonging to active WhatsApp users in 84 countries.
Considering that the app has a user base of around 2 billion, this database supposedly contains the phone numbers of a quarter of WhatsApp users. According to the poster, the database contains the phone numbers of more than 32 million users in the US, 45 million from Egypt, 35 million from Italy, 29 million from Saudi Arabia, 20 million from France, 20 million from Turkey, 10 million from Russia and over 11 million numbers in the UK.
The source didn’t reveal how she got the numbers, saying only that she “used her strategy.” However, it is possible that the database was compiled through a process known as ‘scraping’, which involves collecting data from websites. This basically means that WhatsApp was not hacked but the numbers were collected from websites, confirmed to be used for WhatsApp and put up for sale.
Such a database could be used for spam, phishing and other such activities. And there’s no way to know if your phone is on that list.
If you want to feel more secure, you should open the app, go to “Settings” and then “Privacy” and change settings such as “Last seen and online”, “Profile photo” and “About” to “Contacts Only”.
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