Hacker claims to have leaked 500 million WhatsApp numbers on the dark web – should you be worried?

A HACKED cache said to contain nearly half a billion WhatsApp phone numbers has reportedly been put up for sale on the Dark Web – but it could be a sophisticated scam.

The alleged database reportedly contains 487 million mobile phone numbers from 84 countries – including the UK and US.

WhatsApp has more than 2 billion users, so it's a prime target for scams

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WhatsApp has more than 2 billion users, so it’s a prime target for scamsCredit: WhatsApp

It is common for hackers to flog their wares through hacking forums on the dark web.

The post in question as first reported by cyber newsApparently trying to sell a cache of UK mobile numbers for $2,500 – and a US haul for $7,000.

However, there is very little evidence that the find is legitimate and WhatsApp has already denied that the app was breached.

For example, the cache’s sample “evidence” contains just under 2,000 numbers – a fraction of a percentage of the claimed package.

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It is possible that these phone numbers were acquired elsewhere.

And that means the full data set may not even exist – and may simply be a case of online crooks trying to scam other hackers.

“The claim written on Cybernews is based on unsubstantiated screenshots,” said a WhatsApp spokesman The sun.

“There is no evidence of a ‘data leak’ from WhatsApp.”

The hacker post does not explain how the numbers were acquired.

And although 1,097 UK and 817 US numbers were shared as an example, it’s possible they were acquired in some other way.

It is claimed that there are 11 million UK and 32 million US numbers in total.

Although this type of leak is very common, a data set with such a large amount of numbers is rare.

Crooks can use phone numbers for scam campaigns where they call or text you to trick you – and take your money.

But it’s impossible to confirm if this leak is legit, so don’t panic.

It can just be an attempt by cyber criminals to make quick money from other hackers.

Stay safe on WhatsApp

As always, if you are concerned about a hacking attempt, you should treat all unsolicited messages and calls with due caution.

Never give out private information over the phone or text, especially if someone else has contacted you — rather than going to an official number first.

WhatsApp tries to limit spam texts and has a reporting system that you can use if you receive a fraudulent message.

“We are working diligently to reduce all spam messages coming through our system,” WhatsApp said.

“Creating a safe space for users to communicate with each other is a priority and we aim to reduce unwanted messages that may be sent on WhatsApp.

“However, just like regular SMS or phone calls, it’s possible for other WhatsApp users who have your phone number to contact you, and we want to help you identify and address these types of messages.”

WhatsApp offers these clues to identify a scammer:

  • spelling or grammatical errors
  • Prompt to tap a link or activate new features via a link
  • Request to share your personal information such as credit card or bank account numbers, date of birth, passwords
  • I ask you to forward a message
  • Claiming that you have to pay to use WhatsApp
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If you suspect you are being attacked by a scammer, block the contact and report the message.

Avoid forwarding or replying to messages if you suspect foul play.

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https://www.thesun.ie/tech/9816732/whatsapp-numbers-dark-web-for-sale-scam/ Hacker claims to have leaked 500 million WhatsApp numbers on the dark web – should you be worried?

Fry Electronics Team

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