Phone numbers of WhatsApp Web users reportedly found on Google Search


Troubles don’t seem to end for WhatsApp anytime soon. After Group chats, WhatsApp has allegedly exposed the phone numbers of the web users on Google Search via indexing. A few days ago it was reported that WhatsApp groups have appeared on Google Search, which means that anybody could find the group and join it by searching the group on Google search.

As per security researcher Rajshekhar Rajaria, the phone numbers of WhatsApp web users have appeared on Google Search. WhatsApp is a mobile application but the app can also be used on Laptops and PCs. “The leak is happening via WhatsApp on Web. If someone is using WhatsApp on a laptop or on an office PC, the mobile numbers are being indexed on Google Search. These are mobile numbers of individual users, not business numbers,” Rajaharia told IANS. He had also shared some screenshots with the publication. This is rather alarming because a lot of professionals access WhatsApp from their laptops and PCs.

Just a few days ago, Group chat links were available on Google Search. As a result of which, anybody could simply search the name of the group on Google and join a group on WhatsApp using the link. The issue cropped up due to indexing but now WhatsApp group chat links have now been removed from Google.

“Despite WhatsApp advising users and telling Google to remove the earlier exposed group chat links, the mobile numbers via WhatsApp Web application are now being indexed on Google Search,” Rajaharia had said in a statement. However, WhatsApp soon took cognizance of the vulnerability and issued a statement.

WhatsApp said, ”Since March 2020, WhatsApp has included the “no index” tag on all deep link pages which, according to Google, will exclude them from indexing. We have given our feedback to Google to not index these chats. As a reminder, whenever someone joins a group, everyone in that group receives a notice and the admin can revoke or change the group invite link at any time.

“Like all content that is shared in searchable, public channels, invite links that are posted publicly on the internet can be found by other WhatsApp users. Links that users wish to share privately with people they know and trust should not be posted on a publicly accessible website,” the statement further read.

A similar issue had cropped up in November 2019. The Group chats had appeared on Google Search. However, the issue was reported by a security researcher to Facebook and it was fixed.

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