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Many private WhatsApp group chat links are searchable on Google

WhatsApp may be known for being one of the more secure messaging services out there, but it’s not without its issues. According to new reports from Motherboard, invitations to WhatsApp group chats are being indexed by Google, essentially allowing anyone to find these group chats and join the chat.

Some of the group chats aren’t necessarily discussing sensitive issues, but other links lead to groups made for sharing pornography and other sensitive material. Reporters for Motherboard were able to enter WhatsApp group chats described as being for United Nations-accredited NGOs, after which reporters could see all of the participants and their phone numbers.

The issue here seems to stem from users posting links to join the groups on open web pages, according to a statement from a WhatsApp spokesperson to Motherboard.

“Group admins in WhatsApp groups are able to invite any WhatsApp user to join that group by sharing a link that they have generated,” said the spokesperson. “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. Links that users wish to share privately with people they know and trust should not be posted on a publicly accessible website.”

It’s pretty easy to search for group chats on Google, too. To do so, simply type “chats.whatsapp.com” along with any text that might identify the content of the group you’re searching for.

It’s important to be clear that while WhatsApp has had its privacy and security issues in the past, there is not really any reason to assume that these links wouldn’t be indexed by Google — considering the fact that they are shared on the open web. That’s because of the mechanism that allows users to share group chat links in the first place — whereby a user could simply post a link anywhere to be seen by anyone.

Because of that, instead of this being any search engine’s fault, it’s perhaps more on WhatsApp, and by extension Facebook, to tweak how invitations to group chats can be shared. For now, if you don’t want your phone number to be searchable on the internet, it’s best keeping links to group chats off the open web — and only sharing them privately.

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Three tricks to boost your cell signal at home

Nowadays, everything depends on our ability to stay connected to one another. Everything from education and work greatly relies on the quality of the connection we have, including cell phone connection. Consider that you’re at home waiting for a call from work and you notice your cell phone losing bars.What do you do then? Skip the call and tell your boss you don’t have a good connection? Of course not.Here are a few tricks you can use to improve your cell phone signal at home and never miss a single call or conference.Try Different LocationsPhones lose signal for a variety of different reasons, one of which may just be that the signal can’t penetrate through your house. The signal your phone puts out is a wavelength, which needs to physically leave the walls of your house and reach the cell tower. However, cell phone wavelengths can’t always penetrate certain surfaces such as drywall, wood and brick, some of the most common construction materials in the US.Your best bet would be to try different parts of your home, checking to see which room catches the most bars. The strongest connection you’ll normally come across will be in a room with many windows, as the cell signals have more opportunities to escape the house. The area with the weakest connection will most likely be the basement, as the signal must travel through several layers of flooring and walls.Your absolute best bet in terms of connection will have to be outside. If you have a front lawn or a backyard that’s quiet enough for you to take a call, you can always try sitting outside.Wi-Fi CallsBut sitting outside in your backyard isn’t a luxury we can all enjoy. Many of us don’t have front lawns or backyards, or perhaps we don’t get the same sunny weather that others do, so sitting outside isn’t an option.Some ISPs (Internet Service Providers) have a special service which allows you to make calls through your WiFi connection. While this doesn’t actually boost your cell signal, it does give you an alternative if you’re in a hurry to make a call.The downside to this, is that the service needs to be activated with your ISP and it’s not always reasonably priced, considering that you won’t be using it that often. However, if you do see yourself utilizing this feature often, then contact your ISP and find out what options you have for WiFi calls.Get a Cell Phone Booster Signal StrengthenerIf you consistently have bad cell phone coverage at home and the signal is always weak regardless of what room you’re in, then you may need to purchase a cell signal booster.This device consists of several parts that capture weak cell phone signals from the outside and amplify them to give the phones better coverage. An internal antenna inside your home then disperses the boosted signal among several phones, either equally or to whichever device is closest to it.Depending on the type of signal booster, the area of effect can be anywhere from 500 sq feet to 16000, which can cover anything from a small house or apartment, to an entire hotel.There are many varieties of cell phone signal boosters, but picking the perfect one for your home can be a little daunting, with all the options available. They vary in a number of ways, from the band and data types they are able to boost, to the radius of their effect and where you can use them.You can find an extensive catalogue of cell signal boosters on BoosterPlanet USA if you live in the US, GSM Amplificador if you live in Spain, and Signal Boosters Africa if you live in South Africa. Here all the signal boosters are described in detail, giving you all the information you’ll need to decide on your purchase. And thanks to the convenient categorization system, picking the right signal booster for your home or business only takes a couple of speedy clicks.EDITOR NOTE: This is a promoted post and should not be viewed as an editorial endorsement.Image by F. Muhammad from Pixabay

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