WhatsApp Phone Numbers Pop Up in Google Search Results - Is it a Bug?

WhatsApp Phone Numbers Pop Up in Google Search Results - Is it a Bug?

A researcher found that phone numbers tied to WhatsApp accounts are indexed publicly on Google Search creating what he claims is a “privacy issue” for users.

A researcher found that phone numbers tied to WhatsApp accounts are indexed publicly on Google Search creating what he claims is a “privacy issue” for users. UPDATE A researcher is warning that a WhatsApp feature called “Click to Chat” puts users’ mobile phone numbers at risk — by allowing Google Search to index them for anyone to find. But WhatsApp owner Facebook says it is no big deal and that the search results only reveal what the users have chosen to make public anyway.

Bug-bounty hunter Athul Jayaram, who discovered the issue, calls the phone numbers “leaked” and characterizes the situation as a security bug that puts WhatsApp users’ privacy at risk.

Click to Chat offers websites an easy way to initiate a WhatsApp chat session with website visitors. It works by associating a Quick Response (QR) code image (created via third-party services) to a site owner’s WhatsApp mobile phone number. That allows a visitor to scan the site’s QR code or click on a URL to initiate a WhatsApp chat session – without the visitor having to dial the number itself. That visitor however still gains access to the phone number once the call is initiated.

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