WhatsApp data leak sees 500m user records for sale, including 3m from Hong Kong
A database containing up-to-date mobile phone numbers of nearly 500 million WhatsApp users was leaked and put up for sale, with the dataset allegedly contains WhatsApp user data from 84 countries, Cyber research publication Cybernews revealed on Thursday.
The publication reported that on November 16, an actor posted an ad on a well-known hacking community forum, claiming they were selling a 2022 database of 487 million WhatsApp user mobile numbers.
Threat actor claims there are over 32 million US user records included.
Another huge chunk of phone numbers belongs to the citizens of Egypt (45 million), Italy (35 million), Saudi Arabia (29 million), France (20 million), and Turkey (20 million).
Some 2.9 million phone numbers from active WhatsApp users in Hong Kong were also included in the dataset, according to the report.
Upon request, the seller of WhatsApp's database shared a sample of data with Cybernews researchers. There were 1097 UK and 817 US user numbers in the shared sample.
Cybernews investigated all the numbers included in the sample and managed to confirm that all of them are, in fact, WhatsApp users.
Cybernews also reached out to WhatsApp’s parent company, Meta, but received no immediate response.