Indian cybersecurity expert Athul Jayaram has discovered that the WhatsApp messaging app has a privacy issue wherebyThousands of phone numbers of users of the ‘app’ have been filtered in the Google search engine.
The fault has been identified in the WhatsApp web version, by which they would have been leakedbetween 290,000 and 300,000 user numbersin plain text from the United States, United Kingdom, India, Spain and most other countries.
Specifically, Jayaram states thatWhatsApp ‘click to chat’ functionIt could put users’ phone numbers at risk, as it allows Google to index them for anyone to find.
This function of the messaging ‘app’ allows users to chat with another person swithout having your phone number stored on the device.
In this sense, if a user hasthe phone of a person who has a WhatsApp account,You can create a link to start talking to that person. Clicking on the link will automatically open the chat with that user, as explained by the company on its website.
“Your phone number is visible in this ‘url’ and anyone whoyou can get hold of the ‘url’ you can know your phone number, you can’t revoke it“explains Jayaram on the Medium blogging platform.
Jayaram has stressed that those phone numbers may also appear in Google’s search results, asSearch engines index the metadata of the ‘click to chat’ function.
The impact of this problem can be quite severe, since any unknown person could send messages to users of the ‘app’ that they do not know, something that could be used by scammers or cybercriminals.
In addition, depending on the privacy settings that each person has,Anyone could have access to the profile information of WhatsApp users.