Your WhatsApp groups may not be as secure as you think they are! (Photo Credit: File)
WhatsApp is one of the most downloaded apps and has garnered millions of users in just a few years. It is undoubtedly the most popular and trusted messaging app because it keeps chats ‘encrypted.’ But how secure your chats are? The question arises because a report from Vice revealed that Google has indexed invite links to private WhatsApp group chats. This means that anyone can join various private chat groups with a simple Google search.
“The team found private groups using specific Google searches and even joined a group intended for NGOs accredited by the UN and had access to all the participants and their phone numbers, reported IANS.
Your WhatsApp groups may not be as secure as you think they are, said Journalist Jordan Wildon.
“The "Invite to Group via Link" feature allows groups to be indexed by Google and they are generally available across the internet. With some wildcard search terms, you can easily find some… interesting… groups,” Wildon tweeted.
Reverse app engineer Jane Manchun Wong also tweeted 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.
"Like all content that is shared in searchable public channels, invite links that are posted publicly on the internet can be found by other WhatsApp users," WhatsApp spokesperson Alison Bonny was quoted as saying by IANS.
"The links that users wish to share privately with people they know and trust should not be posted on a publicly accessible website," he added.
"Search engines like Google & others list pages from the open web. That's what's happening here. It's no different than any case where a site allows URLs to be publicly listed. We do offer tools allowing sites to block content being listed in our results," Danny Sullivan, Google's public search liaison, tweeted.