Google search is indexing the phone numbers of some WhatsApp Web users. The computer platform of the Facebook group’s instant messaging and communications service again presents a worrying security breach.
The alert was given by the independent digital researcher, Rajshekhar Rajaharia, who had already warned in the past that private WhatsApp groups are also being indexed by Google search
Phone numbers exposed in Google search results
The flaw was pointed out last Friday (15) and shows us a serious situation in which the phone numbers of those who use WhatsApp Web are frequently indexed by Google’s search engine. Something that results in its presentation with a simple search and consequent exposure to third parties.
The investigator says that this was the third instance in which this occurred, calling for greater surveillance by the platform. In addition, in the responses to the original publication, Rajaharia details the type of indexed files and the failure in the origin of the case.
Privacy gap pointed to WhatsApp Web
WhatsApp’s failure was detailed by the investigated in a simple video posted on his Twitter profile, presented below:
The flaw focuses mainly on WhatsApp Web users in India, but it can be easily exploited anywhere in the world. It should also be noted that in that nation alone there are more than 400 thousand users of the services on this platform.
Also according to the aforementioned source, as soon as the mirroring done by WhatsApp Web ends, the user’s information ends up being “exposed” to Google’s crawlers. In this way, they can be presented in the search results.
Briefly, when someone used WhatsApp Web, the phone number associated with the account of this service was indexed in Google search. The flaw affected only private users and not the business side.
As we made known on a previous occasion, the flaw is related to the use of the “noindex” tag in all links pointing to WhatsApp. If anyone fails to apply this tag, the results are indexed by Google search.
Finally, it is the type of exposure that WhatsApp cannot give itself while there is an authentic exodus of users to rival platforms such as Signal and Telegram.