WhatsApp May Be Leaking Phone Numbers On Google Search

The leak is happening via WhatsApp Web URLs that get indexed on Google search making your contact public.

India   |   17 Jan 2021 8:55 AM GMT / Updated : 2021-01-17T17:07:54+05:30
Writer : Rakshitha R | Editor : Shubhendu Deshmukh | Creatives : Abhishek M
WhatsApp May Be Leaking Phone Numbers On Google Search

Amid the controversy over its new privacy policy, it has been now been discovered that WhatsApp is indexing private phone numbers on public search.

If one has been using WhatsApp on one's personal computer web browser, his/her contact may get scrolled on public Google search. This is a potential risk of attracting spammers, or even cybercriminals looking to get access to chat accounts of individuals.

Independent cybersecurity researcher Rajshekhar Rajaharia told News18 about the listing of public numbers on Google. He further claimed that practically any number can potentially be revealed on the public domain as a result.

According to the report, a large number of WhatsApp for Web URLs have actually been indexed in the public domain on Google, therefore, giving any user access to their contact. The discovery is shocking as many users access WhatsApp via their laptops.

WhatsApp recently faced the issue of indexing WhatsApp group links on Google, which may allow anyone on the internet to access a private group link, and depending on the applied privacy settings by users, potentially join any group and disrupt regular proceedings.

After the reports highlighting the bug came out, WhatsApp announced that it has fixed the issue of the group links being scrolled on Google.

Rajaharia claimed that while WhatsApp was using an automated instruction file embedded in its links to instruct Google to not index its links, there still appears to be a persistent privacy issue at the moment.

Isolated user reports also informed that through the past 24 hours, many users have been receiving unidentified login OTPs, therefore suggesting that unauthorised users may be attempting to access WhatsApp chat accounts of users. However, any technical details and privacy implications of these claims are yet to be clarified by the company as of now.

Also Read: Government May Approve Vehicle Scrappage Policy Soon: Union Minister Nitin Gadkari

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Rakshitha R

Rakshitha R

Digital Editor

Rakshitha an engineer turned passionate journalist with an inclination for poetry, creative writing, movies, fiction, mountains and seclusion. Not a part of the social process but existential.

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Shubhendu Deshmukh

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