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Security breach in WhatsApp: users’ phone numbers appear in Google (again)

The phone numbers of thousands of WhatsApp users appear on Google.

WhatsApp claimed at the time to have fixed the bug that caused the phone numbers of thousands of users to be published on Google, but for some reason, WhatsApp Web has suffered the same security breach again, just a few months later.

He has been the researcher specialized in cybersecurity Rajshekhar Rajaharia who, through his Twitter profile, has shown how Google is re-indexing in its search engine the phone numbers of WhatsApp Web users, so that they are easily accessible through a simple web search.

The phone numbers of thousands of WhatsApp users appear on Google

At first, the fact that the phone numbers of WhatsApp users appeared in Google was associated with the “Click To Chat” function integrated in the messaging service. After discovering the gap, WhatsApp assured that it was not a security issue, but still decided to put a solution that would prevent the numbers from being indexed by the search engine.

However, everything indicates that the WhatsApp solution has not worked. The researcher indicates that, although WhatsApp uses automated instruction files intended to prevent Google from indexing this data, the search engine would be saving the phone numbers and showing them in its searches.

Besides that, it indicates that WhatsApp is not even monitoring the content that Google indexes, so this type of private data is on the Internet until someone finds it, and with a bit of luck, report the bug to the company to solve the security breach present in the application.

This situation comes right in the worst WhatsApp moment in a long time, when applications like Signal or Telegram have triggered their user base after WhatsApp announced its new privacy policies, which will force users to share data with Facebook. Policies that, by the way, will not be applied until the month of May due to the pressure that WhatsApp has been subjected to in recent weeks.