A multinational company specialized in cybersecurity revealed that in the application of WhatsApp the telephone numbers of about 360 million people from a total of 108 countries, would already be for sale on the “dark internet” (darknet).
The Check Point company released the results of an analysis they carried out on the files related to the data of the users of that application, and has ensured that during the last four days those files, which include dialing codes, have been put up for sale on the darknet “and are being distributed freely among cybercriminals.”
WhatsApp sources have, however, asserted that “this is not a data leak” and expressed their “disappointment” that this company dedicated to cybersecurity has “bought a list of telephone numbers that circulates on the internet to repeat unfounded claims in order to get free publicity.
The information that is sold is only the active telephone number, and in no case the content of the user’s messages, according to this company, to which it points out: in any case it is a large-scale violation of a very popular and used by millions of people around the world.
Among the immediate consequences of this “gap”, the company has warned about the possibility of these numbers being used as part of attacks of “phishing” through the application itself, for which reason they have emphasized the importance of all users paying extreme attention to the messages they receive and taking precautions when “clicking” on any link and message shared through this app.
The most common attacks after having access to this data are “vishing” (the victim is tricked into giving information over the phone) and “smshing” that is carried out through “sms” messages, according to Check Point, which has warned about the increase in attacks that have occurred coinciding with some key dates for electronic commerce, such as “Black Friday”, “Cyber Monday” or “Amazon Prime Day”.
Cybersecurity experts in their exhibition also give advice to try to stay safe from possible attacks: always make sure the sender is trustworthy, go directly to the source or website to search for products and services, and do not click on links that may be suspicious nor forward them, in order to avoid the propagation of those malicious links.