Google’s indexing of WhatsApp numbers raises privacy concerns
According to security researchers, Google is indexing phone numbers that are used on WhatsApp, causing concern that this could lead to privacy issues. Earlier this year, it was discovered that invite links to private groups on messaging apps like WhatsApp were freely available on Google, subsequently allowing anyone to join. However, this week it was discovered that WhatsApp’s security practices could present a new threat.
Security researcher Athul Jayaram discovered that WhatsApp’s “wa.me” domain leaks contact phone numbers onto Google. This domain is owned by the popular messaging platform and hosts the click-to-chat link that allows you to begin a chat with someone not saved in your address book. The links that start these chats are indexed by Google and therefore appear in search results.