Data leak at WhatsApp? 5.4 million Dutch telephone numbers for sale – Kassa

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A hacker offers a dataset of almost 500 million (!) telephone numbers of WhatsApp users worldwide on a notorious hacker forum. Of these, more than 5.4 million telephone numbers belong to Dutch WhatsApp users. How is that exactly? What risks do you run? You can read it in this article.

The bringer of the news is tech website Cybernews, which paid extensive attention to it in an article published yesterday. The dataset has been offered on an unnamed hacker forum since November 16, 2022.

However, we can see from the screenshot and the characteristic house style that this is a hacker forum BreachForumsa continuation of the one shut down by the FBI earlier this year RaidForums.

Notice on the FBI’s RaidForums domain. This article continues after the image below.

The domain ‘RaidForums.com’ has been taken over by the FBI

© FBI / via RaidForums.com

What exactly is going on?

A hacker offers a dataset consisting of current telephone numbers of 487 million WhatsApp users from no fewer than 84 countries. Since WhatsApp reportedly has about two billion active users worldwide, the phone numbers would be for about a quarter of all users.

In the dataset, to be precise 5,430,388 Dutch telephone numbers are, and 3,183,584 telephone numbers of Belgian users.

Cybernews has contacted the provider for a sample – not uncommon in hacker circles, as you want to know if the data is reliable before you decide to purchase – and verified that all phone numbers in the dataset do indeed belong to WhatsApp users to be.

How did the hacker get these phone numbers?

That is currently not clear. Cybernews has asked WhatsApp parent company Meta for a response, but has not yet received an answer. The hacker himself shrouds himself in an explanation and claims to have obtained the data “via a specific strategy”.

Cybernews suspects that the data was obtained through scraping, the automated extraction of information that is publicly available somewhere on the internet. That is, incidentally, contrary to WhatsApp’s terms and conditions. But whether this is really the case in this case, Cybernews does not know.

They do state, however, that in the event that such extensive ‘data dumps’ are offered, there is often scrapingand in the case of previous large data breaches from Facebook itself and LinkedIn, that was indeed the case.

What are the risks?

In theory, these phone numbers can be misused for marketing-related purposes and spam, phishing, identity theft, and other scams.

Nevertheless, we dare to say that the soup is not eaten as hot as it is served and that there is no reason to panic: after all, it is not about passwords or keys for two-factor authentication, so it is not as if hackers have stolen your WhatsApp account. can take over.

For the time being, it does not appear that the telephone numbers from this dataset have already been added to databases such as Have I Been Pwned, a website where you can check whether your data has ever been exposed in a data breach. So you cannot currently check whether your phone number has also been stolen. If that changes, you will of course receive an update at Kassa.

However, this does not mean that you cannot do anything at all. It is always wise to be extra alert to things such as phishing and spam. Lists of active phone numbers are worth a lot of money to attackers because it provides them with a huge contact list of potential targets.

If you are approached by unknown numbers, it is therefore always wise to use your common sense and approach the messenger with the necessary suspicion. You can’t really do more.

More about:

phone numbers, whatsapp, hacker, whatsapp fraud, online privacy, hackers, phone number, whatsapp, hack, data breach,

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Data leak WhatsApp million Dutch telephone numbers sale Kassa

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