From the BZ editorial team

    That would be the data meltdown! According to a report by “Cybernews”, almost 500 MILLION WhatsApp user data could have been stolen worldwide – including more than six million cell phone numbers from Germany.

    According to the portal, it has examined a data sample. Conclusion: The stranger who offered the data for sale in a hacker forum in mid-November is probably not bluffing. “Cybernews” checked 1097 numbers from Great Britain and 817 from the United States, “all of them are actually WhatsApp users”.

    The WhatsApp mother Meta has been silent so far

    The industry service has asked the WhatsApp mother Meta for a statement, but the tech giant has been silent so far.

    In total, data from 84 countries is said to have been stolen. Egypt (almost 45 million users) was hit hardest, followed by Italy (35 million) and the USA (32 million). With exactly 6,054,423 cell phone numbers stolen, Germany ranks 26th among the countries that may be affected.

    It is not known how the hacker got the data. He told the portal that he “used their strategy”. “Cybernews” therefore concludes that the criminal could have obtained the data through so-called scraping. Put simply, this involves reading out and storing a large amount of information from an online application.

    WhatsApp theft: Criminals use cell phone numbers for this

    Scraping explicitly violates WhatsApp’s terms of use. However, Mantas Sasnauskas, head of the “Cybernews” research team, criticized: “One has to ask oneself whether a scraping clause in the general terms and conditions is sufficient.” Cyber ​​criminals were not interested in such terms.

    What is so dangerous about the skimmed cell phone numbers? Fraudsters can use them for their purposes, dubious companies can misuse them for marketing purposes.

    According to the industry service, the Zuckerberg company Meta has been criticized in the past for having third parties scrape user data. Just a few days ago there was another case in which 533 million Facebook data were published. You can read the English-language report by “Cybernews” here.