I'm on a few WhatsApp groups that have signup links. Lately (last few months) I've noticed some very odd activity on a few of these groups: every few days I notice a number (often from a country with a poor reputation for scamming) joining, and then leaving the group, like this:

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And I'm wondering, what is the scam being cooked up here? Have they got some kind of brute force bot that signs up for whatever WhatsApp groups it can find? And then does...what? Scrolls through the group member list and harvests their phone numbers? To do...exactly what with them? Send SMS spam, telling people they've won the $16.4m Bill Gates Philanthropic Award For Owning a Phone?

If that's the extent of the threat, then I can live with it. But is there anything else these bots could be doing that is more sinister?

  • 2
    Yeah, data miner for a spam network was my first guess also. Who knows? Maybe there's an APT trying to get info about employees of a specific organization and they're brute forcing their way into all WhatsApp groups as cover. Or maybe it's a programming student who wondered if it was possible to brute force WhatsApp links. – Fire Quacker Dec 19 '19 at 18:07
  • Data mining is certainly possible, but is correlating phone numbers (user IDs) with groups also possible? What about enumerating real phone numbers? – user3.1415927 Aug 20 '20 at 18:29

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