The issue, which has since been patched out, involved indexing of WhatsApp group invites on Google search, according to cybersecurity researcher Rajshekhar Rajaharia. Before the issue was fixed, over 1,500 group invites were reportedly available on Google search pages.
The issue was first cropped up in February last year when app reverse-engineer Jane Wong found that Google has around 470,000 results for a simple search of "chat.whatsapp.com", part of the URL that makes up invites to WhatsApp groups.
Eminent independent cybersecurity researcher Rajshekhar Rajaharia has also lent his view, confirming that the source of the leak is WhatsApp on the Web. Detailing further, he has explained that when the users are using WhatsApp on their laptops or PCs, the mobile numbers are getting indexed on Google Search.Though not all the individual phone numbers appearing online are business numbers, the uproar of concern the news has caused has been huge. Even earlier in the week, when reports of its private group chat links being available on Google Search came out, WhatsApp had reportedly asked Google not to index such chats and also advised users against sharing group chat links on publicly accessible websites.What had transpired in that incident was that Google had indexed invite links to many private WhatsApp group chats, which meant all these private chat groups could be found and joined through a routine search. All the indexed WhatsApp group chat links have now been removed from Google though.
Jane Manchun Wong, known for reverse-engineering apps, brought more attention to the situation. She found that Google has over 470,000 results when doing a simple site search for the "chat.whatsapp.com" URL. Many of these results are invites for private groups. Once a user joins a group, they can see all of the participants and their phone numbers. Obviously, this is a pretty big privacy issue as some of the groups out there are ones people may not want to be publicly associated with.
Last year in February, the first issue was cropped when Jane Wong, a reverse app engineer, found out that Google has almost 470,000 results for a simple search of chat.whatsapp.com, which makes up invites for WhatsApp groups through URL. 2b1af7f3a8