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More than 400,000 links, invitations to private groups on WhatsApp are accessible by Google

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Published on Feb 22, 2020

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More than 400,000 links, invitations to private groups on WhatsApp are accessible from the Google Android Blog Italy.

Everything about WhatsApp, by the exchange of messages and invitations to groups, through the sharing of file and coming to the calls and video calls, is the perfect description of the “deep web“: a portion of the internet not visible to search engines, but that makes up the backbone of the web. Just a shame that sometimes, for issues, bugs or your own, and true security flaws, there is a passage of information from the deep web to clear the web.

WhatsApp is one of the messaging platforms most used in the world. Just this month, the company announced that it had surpassed 2 billion users. As with other messaging platforms, the group chat of WhatsApp are a popular way to communicate with family, friends, colleagues, or strangers of the Internet. Users can invite other private groups with “Invite to group via the link” and then share that link as they wish.

Because of a problem that is still not revealed, if the invitation link is shared online, it seems that out of out of the deep web to be easily searchable on search engines such as Google.

Your WhatsApp groups may not be as secure as you think they are.

The “Invite to Group " via Link” feature allows groups to be indexed by Google and they are generally available across the internet. With some wildcards in the search terms you can easily find some... interesting... groups. pic.twitter.com/hbDlyN6g3q

— Jordan Wildon (@JordanWildon) February 21, 2020

 

This design flaw was reported for the first time by the journalist Jordan Wildon on Twitter. He discovered that the URL “Invite to group via the link” were indexed by Google and could be found with the right search terms. The link to the group chat using the base URL “chat.whatsapp.com” that can be found on Google with the modifier “site:”.

Jane Manchun Wong, note to do the reverse engineering of the app, has discovered that Google has achieved more than 470.000 results during a simple site search for the URL “chat.whatsapp.com”. Many of these results are invitations to private groups. Once a user joins a group, can see all the participants and their phone numbers.

Obviously, this is a problem of privacy rather large as some of the groups are those to which people might not want to be associated publicly.

VIA

More than 400,000 links, invitations to private groups on WhatsApp are accessible from the Google Android Blog Italy.

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