‘Be wary of unsolicited calls, messages’ — NITDA warns Nigerians over alleged Whatsapp data breach



The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has advised WhatsApp users to be careful while using the application as their data may have been exposed owing to an alleged breach on the platform.


Hadiza Umar, head, NITDA’s corporate affairs and external relations, said this in a statement issued on Wednesday in Abuja.


An online report claimed that the data of nearly 500 million WhatsApp users had been leaked and put up for sale on a hacking community forum by an anonymous seller.


The database is said to contain the private information of WhatsApp users from 84 countries.


But WhatsApp denied the data breach, saying the claim was based on unsubstantiated screenshots.


“Following the alleged leak of nearly 500 million WhatsApp users’ mobile phone numbers globally, and this includes over nine million contacts from Nigeria,” the NITDA advisory reads.


“There is an impending danger of threat actors using these data to carry out malicious activities, thereby putting many at risk.


 “Such information could be used to perpetrate cyber attacks such as smishing and vishing.”


According to Umar, smishing involves sending unsuspecting users text messages and asking them to click on links or provide personal information, which can be used to scam victims and launch attacks.


To avoid falling victim to any cyberattack, NITDA advised instant messaging platform users to be wary of unsolicited calls, voice notes and messages from unknown numbers.


NTDA advised users to enable two-factor authentication on their apps.


 “Do not reveal personal information on your profile and do not respond to requests from untrusted or unknown contacts asking for personal data, passwords or other verification codes through messages or calls,” NITDA added.

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