WhatsApp has suffered a significant data breach. Data from over 500 million users worldwide were leaked online and put up for sale on several hacking groups and communities by an anonymous seller. Given that WhatsApp has a user base of over 2 billion, the fact that around one-fourth or 25 percent of users have had their data compromised is a massive setback for the Meta-owned messaging app.

Cybernews first reported the incident. Mark Zuckerberg-owned Meta is yet to confirm or deny the incident. The leak has reportedly affected as many as 80 countries, including Russia, Italy, Egypt, Brazil, Spain, and more. The list also includes India. The cited source has shared a chart via its Twitter handle, which shows that data of more than 6 million people has been leaked online.

The person who put up the data for sale claims that there are 32 million records of users from the US within the set. It also has millions of users from Egypt, Italy, France, the UK, Russia, and India.

According to the report, the US dataset is available for $7,000, while the UK one will cost $2,500. Cybernews’ report said that when they contacted the seller, he shared 1,097 UK-based numbers as proof. The publication investigated the numbers and confirmed that they were from WhatsApp accounts.

Such information is often used for cyber crimes like smishing and vishing, both of which involve sending users a text message and asking them to click on a link. Users are then asked to provide their credit card or other personal details.

This is not the first time a data breach has hit a Meta-owned platform. Last year, the personal data of over 500 million Facebook users, including 6 million records from India, was allegedly leaked. The leaked data then included phone numbers and other details.

In 2019, data from 419 million Facebook and 49 million Instagram users were exposed. In the same year, it faced another breach, exposing the data of 267 million users.

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