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WhatsApp Fixes Phone Number Leak on Google

WhatsApp messaging platform offers end-to-end encryption to all users while renowned for its high data privacy standards.

However, the latest discovery suggests that personal data in WhatsApp is not private as users might think.

“Click to chat” is a less-known WhatsApp facility among WhatsApp users.

This allows website visitors to converse with website operators via the messaging service.

Here, if a visitor to an e-commerce site had a query about a listing, they can scan QR code to enter into a WhatsApp conversation with the relevant helpdesk.

A WhatsApp spokesperson said that this Click to chat feature is designed to help users.

However, Click to chat feature allows users to create a short URL before conversing with others.

Therefore, it leads to appear WhatsApp numbers in google search results.

Indian based researcher, Athul Jayaram is the one who revealed this issue, called it a privacy lapse.

He claimed that about 300,000 phone numbers appeared in google search results if someone looked up for “site:”.

But, he is not the first person to report that. WaBetaInfo, a website that tracks changes in WhatsApp, reported this issue before Jayaram revealed this issue.

Jayaram subsequently reported this issue to WhatsApp owner. But they dismissed the report.

However, Jayaram was not rewarded for discovering the issue because the fix came days after he revealed the issue.

Now, the domain “site:” does not return any result.

So we cannot find phone numbers linked to WhatsApp in google search results anymore.

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