Meta’s owned WhatsApp is one of the biggest messaging platforms, with 2 billion monthly active userbases globally. Around 500 million active WhatsApp accounts as well as up-to-date contact numbers surface online for everyone to access.

More than 533 million WhatsApp phone numbers were compromised, which is a quarter of the total WhatsApp users. You can find these numbers for free on the hacking community forum, and they belong to 84 different countries.

(c) Cybernews

“In this age, we all leave a sizeable digital footprint – and tech giants like Meta should take all precautions and means to safeguard that data,” “We should ask whether an added clause of ‘scraping or platform abuse is not permitted in the Terms and Conditions’ is enough. Threat actors don’t care about those terms, so companies should take rigorous steps to mitigate threats and prevent platform abuse from a technical standpoint.”

Head of Cybernews research team Mantas Sasnauskas said.

These phone numbers could be used for impersonation, phishing attempts, fraud, and marketing purposes, or could be much worse than this. Hackers didn’t disclose the hacking method or the source of the database.

However, Cybernews indicates hackers might gather the data through Web Scraping, which is an automated script to confirm web pages that the number is being used for WhatsApp.

You should also configure your Last Seen and Online, Profile photo, and About to Contacts only in WhatsApp Settings if you want to protect yourself from prying eyes. There is no way to confirm whether your number is on the list or not.