We use WhatsApp (free mobile messaging app) to send messages, make voice and video calls to our friends and family. But the encrypted app seems not as secure as you think. It has been discovered that Google and other search engines are indexing invites to private groups on WhatsApp. More clearly, your WhatsApp group chats can be easily discovered through Google search as the search engine is indexing links to conversations intended to be private.
Journalist Jordan Wildon tweeted that he found WhatsApp’s “Invite to Group Link” feature lets Google index groups, making them available across the internet.
“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 wildcard search terms, you can easily find some… interesting… groups.”
Any group link that is shared outside of secure, private messaging can be relatively easily found and joined.
Google’s Danny Sullivan, the company’s public liaison for search, tweeted that “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.”
Though the issue has been fixed, WhatsApp links are still available on other search engines such as Bing, DuckDuckGo, and others. Hence, WhatsApp users have to be careful especially while having sensitive conversations.