WhatsApp privacy is once again in the eye of the hurricane, and in this case the cause is Google. With a simple search on Google you can prune access private WhatsApp groups, that is, that this error allows people outside the group to have access to the conversations.
Not only the conversations, which are sometimes banal and insulous, but the real danger is in having access to the telephone numbers. This information, in inappropriate hands, can be a focus of problems for dozens of people from premium subscriptions, hacks, theft of WhatsApp accounts, and countless headaches.
Be careful with the name of WhatsApp groups: they can block your account
But before continuing with this fuss, it is worth explaining how it is possible to have almost unlimited access to private WhatsApp groups with a simple search on Google.
Well, the problem lies mainly in the invitation link to the groups. These links are indexed in Google without taking into account that they are privateThis is why this serious ruling allows anyone to join the group without prior consent.
To access these groups, simply put on Google the specific structure of the WhatsApp groups link:
site: chat.whatsapp.com concert
Where we put "concert", you can put almost any word (Carnival, demonstration, travel, hangouts, Indonesia, Spain, football, etc.), since they are usually groups with hundreds of people to organize hangouts, demonstrations, go to concerts, parties, football matches, etc.
When you type that in the Google search bar, the Internet giant returns thousands of results. Well, this gives thousands of people the possibility of accessing without consent, private groups having access to conversations, photos, telephone numbers, private information, etc.
Moreover, in our tests, we have written "chat.whatsapp.com concert" and we have accessed a link that is indexed on a Facebook fan page and another group on a Twitter Tweet. This is nothing strange, since, to some extent, they are public groups.
If we scroll, we see Websites with dozens of WhatsApp groups to go to concerts, even in "Thousand Ads" there are links to WhatsApp groups. Be that as it may, The only security measure is to click on "Join the chat".
We have changed the word, and the problem is repeated. These are large groups in their majority, but they are not private, as are the groups we have with our friends, with our coworkers, our community of neighbors, family, etc. They are private.
In the case of private groups, this security breach has allowed access to hundreds of groups where there were some NGOs accredited by the United Nations, groups with pornographic content, groups with sensitive content, others harmless, etc.
According to Jane Wong, application and security engineer, when searching Google "chat.whatsapp.com" or "site: chat.whatsapp.com", access to more than 470,000 results.
But whatever it is, that fault, already solved, allow access to a multitude of information such as phone numbers, photos, conversations, data, etc.
All this leads us to know, according to a WhatsApp statement, that the members and administrators of the groups are the ones responsible for the link to join is shared with trusted people that is shared freely and without control in public places.
Part of that responsibility also rests with Google and WhatsApp to censor certain information by making searches as simple as those we have done in our tests. But this is something we don't know 100%, so, for now, better be cautious when sharing a link to join a WhatsApp group.
And if we want more security, we can go to the settings of a group of which we are administrators and activate the box where we are allowed to choose who can add members to a group. At the moment, there is nothing in WhatsApp to limit the entry to a group, that is, there is no filter, nor any security method, as we have been able to verify.
72 original WhatsApp group names