by TINTSWALO BALOYI
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – MILLIONS of users around the world face attacks from cyber criminals after WhatsApp was compromised.
A database containing up-to-date mobile phone numbers of nearly 500 million users was allegedly leaked and put up for sale.
The seller claims they can offer phone numbers of users from 84 countries, which is concerning, according to a security expert.
Victor Chebyshev, Lead Security Researcher at Kaspersky Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT), said once this data ends up in untrustworthy hands, fraudsters might launch various types of attacks from spam calls to voice phishing.
“Privacy risks are another major concern,” Chebyshev said.
The expert said for a cybercriminal, having a potential victim’s phone number significantly increased the opportunity of a successful attack, since most online services require entering a phone number along with other personal data.
These include name, email address, and sometimes card details.
“Doxing, cyberbullying, blackmailing, and extortion are among potential cyberthreats victims might face,” Chebyshev said.
To stay safe, the expert advised users to hide their data from everyone except those in their contact list in the WhatsApp privacy settings.
They must be cautious and pay attention to calls and messages from unknown numbers.
Users must enable two-factor authentication and never open suspicious links sent by anyone as there might be malicious files attached or could directly lead them to fraudulent content.
– CAJ News