WhatsApp groups appear once again in Google search. As a result, anyone can find and join a private WhatsApp group by searching on Google. It was first discovered in 2019 and was fixed last year after it was unveiled. Another old problem, which also seems to be fixed, but seems to be growing again, is that user profiles appear through search results. Due to the problem people’s phone numbers and profile pictures can be found through a simple Google search.
By allowing the group chat invite index, WhatsApp Many private groups are available on the web when someone can access their links using a simple search query Google – Although we do not share exact details, it is verified by Gadgets 360. Anyone who finds these links can join the groups and see the participants and their phone numbers along with the posts shared in those groups.
Cybersecurity researcher Rajsekhar Rajharia informs Gadgets 360 about the indexing of WhatsApp group chat invitations on Google. Indexing seems to have started quite recently again. At the time of writing, more than 1,500 group invitation links are available in search results.
Some links suggested by Google WhatsApp groups share pornography. In other cases, there are links to WhatsApp groups dedicated to a specific community or interest. Gadgets 360 Bangla and also found message sharing groups for Marathi users. With links, uninvited people can easily join groups.
This is not the first time this problem has occurred. In November 2019, WhatsApp group chat invitations were first found in Google search results. The issue was reported to Facebook by a security researcher, but it was resolved Cover Through several news organizations in February last year.
Reverse Engineer Jane Manchun Wang Reported WhatsApp Group has clearly addressed chat indexing by adding the ‘Noindex’ meta tag to chat invitation links. However, the latest links include the Noindex meta tag.
Group chat links exposed during 2019 may not appear on Google, so this could be another issue leading up to similar results or accidentally bringing back an old issue.
Gadgets 360 WhatsApp does not include the robots.text file specifically for the chat.watsap.com subdomain, which led to the index of group chat invitations on Google and other search engines, said Rajharia. Web developers typically use the robots.txt file to tell search engine crawlers what pages or files they can crawl and what they should not do for indexing.
WhatsApp publishes user profiles on Google
In addition to group invitation links, WhatsApp seems to allow Google to index users’ profiles again to chat with a user or view their profile picture.
By searching for country codes in the WhatsApp domain, URLs of people’s profiles can be found, including phone numbers and profile pictures. This is the problem Seemed to be resolved Through WhatsApp in June last year – the company did not release a statement at the time but multiple reports also confirmed this.
Gadgets 360 has found that indexing invites group chat as well, and WhatsApp user profiles have also been re-accessed on Google for the past few hours. The search engine has already suggested 5,000 profile links. Some links may lead users to launch their profile pictures and statues to someone in the messaging app.
Cybersecurity researcher Rajharia finds indexing of WhatsApp user profiles on Google. He noted that there was no separate robots.txt file for the api.whatsapp.com subdomain to tell search engine crawlers not to crawl its relevant links, as invited by group chat.
Gadgets 360 reached out to WhatsApp and Google to comment on group chat invitation link and user profile indexing issues.
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