WhatsApp Data Breach: Data Of Nearly 500 Million Users Allegedly Leaked; WhatsApp Denies Breach

Check the details of the alleged WhatsApp data breach which includes the personal data of over 6 million India WhatsApp users.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Source:&nbsp;Mika Baumeister on Unsplash</p><p>  </p></div>
Source: Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

Meta-owned messaging platform WhatsApp has hit the headlines yet again. As per a report by Cybernews on Saturday, November 26, 2022, phone numbers of nearly 500 million WhatsApp users have been leaked by a hacker and are up for sale on a popular hacking forum. This database contains the private information of 487 million WhatsApp users from 84 countries, including India.

The hacker claims that the database includes records of 32 million WhatsApp users from the United States (US), over 11 million users from the United Kingdom (UK), and nearly 10 million users from Russia. It also includes a large chunk of phone numbers belonging to citizens from Italy (35 million), Turkey (20 million), France (20 million), Egypt (45 million), and Saudi Arabia (29 million).

The Cybernews report added that over 6 million WhatsApp users from India could also be at risk due to this data breach. The report also revealed that the hacker is selling the US dataset for $7,000, the UK dataset for $2,500, and the Germany dataset for $2,000.

When contacted by Cybernews, the hacker reportedly shared 1,097 UK and 817 US user numbers as a sample of data. Cybernews then investigated these numbers and confirmed that all of them are WhatsApp users.

However, a WhatsApp spokesperson denied the alleged data breach and said that the report was “based on unsubstantiated screenshots." The spokesperson added, “The claim written on Cybernews is based on unsubstantiated screenshots. There is no evidence of a ‘data leak’ from WhatsApp."

Meta-owned platforms have faced such data breaches in the past. In the year 2021, the personal data of more than 500 million Facebook users, including phone numbers and other details, was allegedly leaked. This included 6 million records from India. In 2019, the personal data of 49 million Instagram users and 419 million Facebook users were leaked.

Suggested Read: Digital Personal Data Protection Bill 2022: Not Everyone’s Unhappy