"Not Hacked", Claims WhatsApp: Should Users Still Be Cautious While Using App?

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Over the weekend, reports emerged about WhatsApp being hacked, and data of around 500 million users allegedly available for purchase. WhatsApp has strongly denied any claims of being hacked or its data breached. The Meta-owned instant messaging platform has offered an official statement that essentially rubbishes all reports about a "data leak". Although WhatsApp's networks may not have been compromised, could the leaked data still have some legitimacy, and, are users still at risk?

 

WhatsApp Refutes Claims Of Any Hack Over The Weekend

Reports about a serious security breach of WhatsApp's networks and data centers rocked the internet over the weekend. WhatsApp has officially rejected the claims of a data leak of around 500 million users.

A WhatsApp spokesperson claimed the reports about the data leak are based on "unsubstantiated screenshots". The spokesperson further added, "The claim written on Cybernews is based on unsubstantiated screenshots. There is no evidence of a 'data leak' from WhatsApp."

WhatsApp is referring to a report from Cybernews that claimed that data of around 500 million WhatsApp users was leaked, and the same was available online on a hacking forum. Specifically speaking, the report claimed a threat actor was offering a database that allegedly contained phone numbers of over 487 million WhatsApp users.

The report also mentioned the countries affected by this breach. From the 500 million numbers, about 6.2 million phone numbers reportedly belonged to Indian users of the messaging platform.

The report included some screenshots but did not mention if the database had names and other details of users. However, it did claim the seller shared 1,097 numbers from the UK to prove legitimacy. Upon investigation, the numbers were reportedly found to be legit.

Should WhatsApp Users Still Be Cautious?

WhatsApp's security and networks may not have been compromised. Although the data may not have originated from WhatsApp, it is quite possible the data was "scrapped". It is quite common for threat actors or scammers to build large datasets by scrapping data from various public websites and platforms.

 

Needless to say, WhatsApp users will have to remain cautious while using the app. Scammers can text or send media to different contacts, hoping to entrap victims and get information. Users must not click on a link from an unknown source, or share any sensitive information.

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