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Half a billion WhatsApp users worldwide hacked, including Belgians: here’s how to protect yourself

  • Post category:Economy News
  • Reading time:4 mins read

They belong to WhatsApp users and are for sale on a well-known hacker forum. Huge, because that’s a quarter of WhatsApp’s 2 billion users worldwide. In total, 84 countries are affected by this gigantic leak, including Belgium.

In our country, the proportion is even greater since it concerns almost one number out of two: 3,188,584 numbers exactly, or more than one number out of two!

Among the most affected countries are Egypt (45 million), Italy (35 million) and France with 19.8 million “stolen” numbers.

Contacted, Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, is regularly confronted with this type of hacking, in defiance of its terms of use. She has not yet reacted and no data leaks have been declared by WhatsApp.

It is therefore impossible to say that WhatsApp was the victim of a “leak”. It is also possible that the database was created by performing “scraping”, according to Cybernews.

The method consists of using tools and scripts to get your hands on a large amount of data. The technique will “dig into” and gather more or less public and personal data, including those from previous leaks, spam or phishing campaigns. Well known and rather common, it can be effective.

The main risk is obviously that this large-scale hacking is an opportunity for fraudsters to make money through various frauds, phishing…

“Hackers could take advantage of contact impersonation to make money,” explains Olivier Bogaert, commissioner at the Computer Crime Unit.

How to protect yourself

How to protect yourself from such hacking? “In WhatsApp settings, we have privacy settings: we can limit the visibility of certain content,” he revealed on RTL. He also advises limiting contact identification. “These are people we know most of the time. So just their first name may be enough. »

The method consists of using tools and scripts to get your hands on a large amount of data. The technique will “dig into” and gather more or less public and personal data, including those from previous leaks, spam or phishing campaigns, further specifies Cybernews. Well known and rather common, it can be effective.

JM