News JVTech WhatsApp victim of a massive hack in France: you may be one of the 20 million people concerned
Published on 11/29/2022 at 4:45 p.m.
Nearly 500 million phone numbers associated with WhatsApp accounts were hacked throughout the year: French users are among the most affected by this delicate situation. It is possible to check if you are concerned.
France among the countries most affected by WhatsApp hackingHow to check if your number is affected?What to do if your number has been stolen?
Definitely, Meta has been getting a lot of bad press lately. The last disaster to date to have affected a service of the American company dates back to the middle of November: this time, it concerns the WhatsApp messaging service.
Last week, security experts from the Cybernews site revealed that the WhatsApp platform was the victim, in the course of 2022, of a massive theft of personal data : Those are 487 million phone numbers associated with WhatsApp accounts that have been stolen by hackers, without Meta realizing it. Or, in any case, that the company decides to speak about it publicly.
France among the countries most affected by WhatsApp hacking
If this discovery is talked about today, it is because packs containing the phone numbers of tens of millions of WhatsApp users went on sale in November on the Dark Web : it is, in particular, possible to obtain an archive containing 32 million US user phone numbers for $7,000. CyberNews experts had access to one of the archives sold and they were able to authenticate a sample of numbers, proving, at the same time, the veracity of the data leak.
With 20 million hacked numbers, France is in fifth place in the ranking of the most affected countries : in all, 84 territories are concerned. With nearly 45 million stolen phone numbers, Egypt is in first place, followed by Italy (35), the USA (32) and Saudi Arabia (29).
The countries affected by the hack. Source: Cyber News
This situation is a real blow for Metawhich communicated extensively this year on its desire to secure WhatsApp. This massive hack concerns almost a quarter of all users of the platform, which currently has around 2 billion users. We can recall that last year, Meta was already the victim of a leak of 503 million phone numbers belonging, this time, to Facebook users.
According to CyberNews, the hacker behind this massive WhatsApp information leak used the scraping method to collect data : this consists of using automated programs to extract public data available on the Internet. What makes this hack even more dangerous is that each recovered number is associated with the name of its owner. This can be useful for scammers looking to use this database for phone scams or identity theft.
The Cybernews platform has its own tool to check if your phone number is among those affected by this massive leak of personal data. You can carry out an inspection without further delay. Please be sure to use the international format of your phone number. : if it starts with 06, you must change the 0 to 33. The search engine quickly tells you if your number is affected by the WhatsApp leak or the Facebook leak that occurred last year.
What to do if your number has been stolen?
Unlike a password which can easily be changed, a telephone number tends to remain frozen and unless you decide to change your mobile number, so there is not much to do, unfortunately.
In contrast, it is important to be aware that your number will potentially end up in the wrong hands. It is very likely that it will be used, in the future, in phishing campaigns to send fraudulent SMS, or that it will be used for telephone marketing campaigns. It is therefore essential to be vigilant so you don’t get tricked if you receive unwanted messages or calls.