Users of the popular messaging app WhatsApp are in trouble as hackers recently released a database for sale that includes the phone numbers of 487 million active users, according to a report by Cyber News.
This means that about a quarter of WhatsApp’s 2 billion users are at risk of having their number fall into the wrong hands. Buyers often use these numbers to organize Internet fraud (phishing) and send unsolicited messages.
According to Cyber News, the hacker posted on a hacker forum a list of 84 countries, including Greece and Cyprus, and the number of users whose data he was able to obtain from each country.
Based on this list in Greece, a hacker managed to gain access to the numbers of 617,722 active users, which he offers for sale to the highest bidder. The announcement also contains the numbers of 152,321 users from Cyprus.
The list also includes Egypt (45 million users), USA (32 million users), Italy (35 million users) and Turkey (20 million users).
In fact, the hacker said that he was ready to sell the numbers of all US users in the form of a “package” for the amount of 7,000 dollars (6,749 euros).
Representatives of Meta, which owns the messenger, have not yet commented on the leak.
To get to the bottom of the case and find out if the hacker is really telling the truth, Cyber News investigators contacted him and asked for a sample of the database he claims to have. According to them, after a thorough check, they came to the conclusion that all the numbers included in the sample list they received were indeed the numbers of active WhatsApp users.
How can whatsapp be hacked?
There are two most common ways to hack WhatsApp accounts. The first exploits a vulnerability in the application code, so due to its complexity, it is rarely used and only by professionals. The second requires only gaining access to the phone without the knowledge of the owner, and with its help it is much easier to get remote access to your correspondence.
How to protect your whatsapp
Fortunately, there is a way to protect your messenger and messages in it from prying eyes. To do this, first of all, you need to install protection on the screen of your smartphone. You can use a pattern, fingerprint or password. Then you should turn to the protection of the messenger itself. You can do this in the following way:
- Open the Account tab.
- Select the 2-Step Verification option.
- Set an activation password.
After you do this, the app will ask you for the password you set when verifying your phone number, that is, every time you sign in on a new device.
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