WhatsApp’s resolves ‘Click to Chat’ issue that exposed some users’ phone numbers

WhatsApp’s resolves ‘Click to Chat’ issue : Whatsapp addresses the issue of ‘Click to Chat’ which caused some of its users’ phone numbers to appear in the results of Google searches.

The patch comes days after a researcher discovered that in search results appeared the phone number of Whatsapp users who built a simplified connection to encourage others to talk with them or join a party.

A spokesperson for a WhatsApp said in a statement that this feature, called ‘Click and Chat,’ is designed to help users connect with their customers, especially small and micro-businesses around the world.

What You Must Know

  • A security researcher discovered that on Google Search, telephone numbers of WhatsApp users using the feature Click to Chat were publicly indexed.
  • The feature Click to Talk lets users talk with someone on WhatsApp without even saving their phone number in their phone.
  • Luckily WhatsApp appears to have resolved the issue.

If you’ve used the little-known Click to Chat feature of WhatsApp, your phone number might have been accessible to the public through a Google search.

Athul Jayaram, a security researcher from India, has found that phone numbers of nearly 300,000 WhatsApp users may have been exposed to the privacy issue in the WhatsApp Web portal.

The Click to Chat app, which has been around for a long time now, allows businesses to build a connection to encourage their customers to send a message to them on WhatsApp. Customers will simply click the connection and start talking without having to save their phone number.

“While we appreciate the study from this researcher and admire the time it took to share it with us, it did not qualify for a bounty as it contained merely a search engine index of URLs that WhatsApp users wanted to make public. All users of the WhatsApp, including companies, will block unwanted messages by pressing a button, “added the spokesperson.                                                                Whatsapp’s resolves ‘Click to Chat’ issue

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The Click to Talk feature allows users to create a quick URL — <wa.me>/ — that they can share with their friends or clients to encourage fast communication without first having to add their phone number to their contact list.

Athul Jayaram, an Indian researcher who revealed the problem, called it a privacy lapse. He reported that Google search results as many as 300,000 phone numbers When someone searched for “site: wa.me”

Jayaram said the phone numbers appeared in the search results because WhatsApp did not guide Google and other search engines to neglect the indexing of those links — a function search engines offer to every site administrator.

On Tuesday, he reported WhatsApp had made some adjustments to remind web crawlers not to index those links.

But Jayaram isn’t the first person to say that Google search results display WhatsApp phone numbers. In February this year, WaBetaInfo, a website which monitors changes in WhatsApp, reported this behaviour.

Jayaram says, several WhatsApp users he approached whose numbers appeared in the results of Google searches were shocked to learn that this confidential information was publicly available.

On May 23, Jayaram reported the issue to Facebook through the company’s bug-bounty scheme. However, it was denied as “it only included an index or URLs of the search engine that WhatsApp users wanted to make public.”

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