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WhatsApp Phone Numbers Pop Up in Google Search Results — But 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.

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. 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.

The problem, Jayaram said, is that those mobile numbers can also turn up in Google Search results, because search engines index Click to Chat metadata. The phone numbers are revealed as part of a URL string (https://wa.me/<phone_number>) and so, this in effect “leaks” the mobile phone numbers of WhatsApp users in plaintext, according to the researcher’s view.

Source: WhatsApp Phone Numbers Pop Up in Google Search Results — But is it a Bug? | Threatpost

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