WhatsApp Phone Numbers Leak

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WhatsApp Phone Numbers Leak
Short Title WhatsApp Phone Numbers From Private Profiles Available Publicly via Google Search
Location Global
Date June 2020

Taxonomy Insecurity, Increased Accessibility
Information Contact, Physical Characteristics
Threat Actors WhatsApp Inc. (Facebook Inc.), Facebook, Google

Individuals
Affected WhatsApp users
High Risk Groups
Secondary Consequences

Over 300,000 WhatsApp phone numbers were leaked and appeared to be available publicly through Google search.

Description

In June 2020 phone numbers from private profiles of Facebook-owned WhatsApp were found to be leaked.

By searching with an alternate shortened URL for the service, one could get a list of over 300,000 phone numbers currently in use on the platform. Increased Accessibility

Generally, the internal phone numbers tied to users have some level of privacy protection; they are not supposed to be visible to those who are not logged into the platform and also not shared with other platform users unless one approves them as a contact. Therefore the leak can be interpreted as a Breach of Confidentiality. This data breachInsecurity has given anyone access to WhatsApp phone numbers via Google search.

Facebook rejected a bug bounty report on this issue and downplayed it, claiming that the only numbers available are those that the owners have opted to make public.

Risk Statistics

Laws and Regulations

Sources

https://www.cpomagazine.com/data-privacy/whatsapp-phone-numbers-from-private-profiles-leaked-to-the-public-via-google-search/