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WhatsApp Denies Data Leak involving Millions of User

Social media giant WhatsApp has issued a statement denying reports earlier this week that they had suffered a data leak that saw millions of users’ mobile phone numbers exposed by hackers.

Reports emerged on Saturday, November 26, that nearly 500 million WhatsApp users’ contact details had been accessed by an anonymous threat actor who was offering the details up for sale on a notorious hacking forum.

The Cyber Criminal Claimed To Have Stolen Millions of Numbers From Users Across the Globe

The threat actor claimed in their post that they had managed to steal the numbers of 487 million users of the social app across the globe, including 32 million in the United States, 3 million in Hong Kong, 45 million in Egypt, and 12 million from Malaysia.

Prices for each set varied, with a $7,000 price for the US data, $2,500 for the UK information, and $2,000 for the German stolen numbers.

WhatsApp Has Denied Any Unauthorized Access or Data Breach of User Data

However, in the post, the threat actor did not detail how they had stolen the data from the Meta-owned platform, only saying they used various methods to acquire the information. It was suggested by Cyber News today, which first reported news of the supposed breach, that Data scraping might have been the method the threat actor had used to acquire the data.

Today, the social media app sent out a statement saying that it had found no evidence of any data breach. The Meta-owned company also called into question the validity of the screenshots used in the post from the supposed hacker, calling them “unsubstantiated.”

WhatsApp Denies that the Phone Numbers Came From Its User Databases

The statement also emphasized that the platform firmly denied that the phone numbers featured in the screenshots from the threat actor were stolen from WhatsApp databases. “There are many ways a list of phone numbers, without WhatsApp user data, could be compiled, and we are not in a position to speculate how this may have happened.”

The statement read, “We would reiterate that we have seen no evidence of a data leak on WhatsApp systems. We would also note that the article purports to describe a list of phone numbers, some of which may be associated with WhatsApp accounts, and no other WhatsApp user information.”

The organization said that it would execute further checks within the next few days to ensure that there have been no unnoticed data security breaches.

The Claim Follows A Recent Data Breach of Sensitive Information From Other Social Media Platforms

The claims of a data leak follow high-profile leaks earlier this month which made cyber security news when information from both LinkedIn profiles and Facebook had been put up for sale on a forum.

Leaked user phone numbers could lead to substantial cyber security threats like fraud through impersonation, text fraud, online fraud, and phishing attacks. WhatsApp advised users to be wary of any suspicious messages they may receive on the platform, to block suspicious users, and report any worrying activity to the company.

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