Meta-owned WhatsApp has denied that the contact details of 487 million users have been stolen and put on sale on a hacking community forum.
WhatsApp’s response came against the backdrop of a Cybernews report which claimed the theft of user data from 84 countries. Even phone numbers of over 32 million users from the United States, 11 million from the United Kingdom, and 10 million from Russia got “stolen”.
“The claim written on Cybernews is based on unsubstantiated screenshots. There is no evidence of a ‘data leak’ from WhatsApp,” a company spokesperson said.
According to the report, the hacker claimed to have a list of phone numbers belonging to the citizens of Egypt (45 million), Italy (35 million), Saudi Arabia (29 million), France (20 million), and Turkey (20 million).
The United States dataset was sold in the dark net for USD 7,000, followed by the ones from the United Kingdom (USD 2,500), and Germany (USD 2,000). Cybernews researchers also contacted the hacker. However, the hacker did not specify how the data theft method.
WhatsApp has over two billion monthly active users. One of the data samples shared by the hacker showed phone numbers from 1097 United Kingdom and 817 United States users. Cybernews claimed to have confirmed that all these numbers are genuine ones.
More than 533 million Meta user records were leaked on a dark forum. Then, there were reports about some 500 million LinkedIn profiles being put for sale on a hacker forum.