An ad posted on a well-known hacking community forum claims that WhatsApp data from over 487 million WhatsApp users from around the World, including Bahrain, is on sale.
The report, first published by Cybernews.com, claims that the ad was posted on the forum by a 'threat actor' claiming that they are selling a 2022 database of 487 million WhatsApp users' mobile numbers, from 84 countries around the world.
According to the post, the biggest leaks were from Egypt (45 million), Italy (35 million), the USA (32 million), Saudi Arabia (29 million), France (20 million), and Turkiye (20 million).
According to screenshots of the ad, around 1.4 million Bahrain numbers were also included in the leak.
Although news of such hacks is quite common and usually turns out to be false, an investigation conducted by Cybernews has confirmed that this leak is authentic. The 'threat actor' provided Cybernews with a sample dataset, containing around 2,000 phone numbers. Cybersnews confirmed that all the numbers are genuine and appear to be active WhatsApp users.
According to the 'threat actor', they were selling the US dataset for $7,000, the UK dataset for $2,500 and the German dataset for $2,000.
Large data leaks such as these are often used for smishing and vishing attacks, so people are recommended to be wary of unsolicited calls or texts from unknown numbers.
WhatsApp's parent company Meta has not issued a statement yet regarding the leak.
To protect their identity online, regular users must use VPNs while online and get reliable anti-virus software.