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Alert for a massive leak of WhatsApp accounts: how to know if your number is for sale


SUBSCRIBERS EXCLUSIVE

A database with information on almost 500 million users fell into the hands of cybercriminals.

Massive leaks, increasingly frequent in the digital sphere, reveal Private information of millions of people. The preferred targets of the attackers are video games, social networks and, of course, the instant messaging services.

The most recent victim, as anticipated by the portal CyberNews, it was WhatsApp. Cybercriminals hijacked a database containing up-to-date mobile phone numbers for almost 500 million users.

It was put up for sale in the hacking community forum BreachForums. The seller claims to have in the folder numbers from 84 countries. The bulk belongs to users from the United States, Egypt, Italy, Saudi Arabia, France and Turkey, although are affected all over the world.

What baffles experts is the volume of information contained in this database. Above all because in Meta they do not recognize any recent leaks in their ranks.




WhatsApp was exposed by the attackers. Photo: Shutterstock

The main hypothesis is that, to violate the app, the criminals had to resort to the tactic of web scraping. That is to say that, through automated scripts, they tracked data on pages that are associated with the telephone numbers of the victims.

Once this data ends up in deceitful hands, fraudsters can launch various types of attacks, from spam calls to voice phishing.

Many gullible people claim that their information is worthless. However, the attackers they profit with the material stolen, since they immediately put it up for sale in online forums or in the black market of the dark web.

The risks to privacy, on the rise.  AFP photo.


The risks to privacy, on the rise. AFP photo.

Privacy risks are another major concern. For a cybercriminal, having a potential victim’s phone number significantly increases the chance of a successful attack.

The doxing, cyberbullying, blackmail and extortion are among the possible cyberthreats that victims may face.

Most online services require you to enter a phone number along with other personal details like name, email address, and sometimes card details.

Access to the phone number, as explained by Kaspersky, can be used for identity theft and in the case of WhatsApp, this is done through a message of SMS, which can be intercepted or stolen through social engineering.

It can also be compromised by means of a SIM swapor the cloning of the SIM card, if the user does not activate the double authentication function.

WhatsApp: how to know if your account is compromised

To access Have I been pwned?


To access Have I been pwned?

Suspecting that your own number was compromised, one of the most important and useful pages when it comes to locating leaks is Have i been pwned?

All one has to do is write your number or email and press the pwned button and it will immediately show if you were included in any mass leaks.

If there is no news, it will give some advice such as enabling 2-step verification or using a password manager. In addition, it alerts if any service associated with the phone has been compromised so that one can remove it.

Another similar page is dehashed.com. The main feature is that it allows you to search for other types of data to find out if they have been filtered, such as usernames, telephone numbers or even IP addresses.

And although this service is free in almost all its functions, it will be necessary to register and create a user account to be able to access the information.

The sober but effective IntelligenceX.


The sober but effective IntelligenceX.

The third alternative is IntelligenceX. It is a search engine that allows you to find a large amount of information in filtered databases and shows the results in a clear and simple way.

It allows you to search for domains, URLs, IP and email addresses, and even Bitcoin addresses, with filters for country and service.

It also has a paid version that further expands the options allowing searches by TOR, I2P and other Dark Web services.

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