GulfNews Technology

Mobile numbers of WhatsApp on Web users found on Google Search

Technology|: New Delhi: As WhatsApp faces intense scrutiny over its upcoming data and privacy policy in India and elsewhere, another user data violation has been reported, this time on the WhatsApp on Desktop (Web) application, allegedly exposing personal mobile numbers via indexing on Google Search. Although WhatsApp is primarily a mobile app, currently being used by over 400 million users in India, some working professionals also use the instant chat app on their desktops and PCs via the Web version. Independent cybersecurity researcher Rajshekhar Rajaharia on Friday shared some screenshots showing indexing of personal mobile numbers of WhatsApp users via Web version on Google Search. "The leak is happening via WhatsApp on Web. If someone is using WhatsApp on laptop or on an office PC, the mobile numbers are being indexed on Google Search. These are mobile numbers of individual users not business numbers," Rajaharia told IANS. Earlier this week, concerned at private group chat links being available on Google Search, WhatsApp said that it had asked Google not to index such chats and advised users not to share group chat links on publicly accessible websites. Google had indexed invite links to private WhatsApp group chats, meaning anyone can join various private chat groups with a simple search. The indexed WhatsApp group chat links have now been removed from Google. "Despite WhatsApp advising users and telling Google to remove the earlier exposed group chat links, the mobile numbers via WhatsApp Web application are now being indexed on Google Search," Rajaharia noted. A WhatsApp spokesperson said in an earlier statement that since March 2020, WhatsApp has included the "noindex" tag on all deep link pages which, according to Google, will exclude them from indexing. "We have given our feedback to Google to not index these chats. Links that users wish to share privately with people they know and trust should not be posted on a publicly accessible website," the company spokesperson said. The issue was first cropped up in February last year when app reverse-engineer Jane Wong found that Google has around 470,000 results for a simple search of "", part of the URL that makes up invites to WhatsApp groups. According to Rajaharia, the latest leak of personal mobile numbers via WhatsApp on Web has not been addressed so far by the either Facebook-owned platform or Google.

GulfNews Technology

As Wikipedia turns 20 it aims to reach more readers

Technology|: Paris: Wikipedia celebrates its 20th anniversary on Friday and the collaborative, volunteer-produced internet encyclopedia aims to spend the next 20 years further expanding free access to information. Founded on January 15, 2001 by the American-British entrepreneur Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia is now the seventh-most popular website in the world, with its more than 55 million articles being consulted 15 billion times every month. The website started in English but within two months had already launched in German and Swedish. It is now available in 309 languages. But Wales doesn't intend to stop there, with the languages of the developing world in the website's sights. "That's really important that the next billion people, two billion people who come online are going to want to participate in Wikipedia, to grow their own storehouse of knowledge, and they're going to rely on us to support that work, and that's a big part of how I think about the future," Wales told AFP in an interview. In 2006, Wales set the goal of having 100,000 entries in Wikipedia for every language with more than one million speakers, but he recognised that Wikipedia is still at least 20 years from achieving that. Wikipedia's non-profit status nature make it an outlier among today's internet dominated by the likes of Google and Facebook, and hark back to the web's early idealistic days when the open-source movement harnessed the talents of volunteers to offer free access to tools and knowledge. Wales said he was inspired by such collaborative efforts. "I'd seen the growth of open-source software, free software, and to me it seemed obvious that you could use the same kind of techniques to build a free encyclopedia, so I was in a real kind of panic because I thought this is such an obvious idea that other people will do it," he said. "But we actually were probably two years into the project before anybody noticed or cared, so maybe it didn't have to be so urgent." Wikipedia continues to be a volunteer-driven effort, with each language site built up independently from original contributions rather than translated articles. Unlike traditional encyclopedias, contributions by non-experts are welcome, which has driven innumerable debates about content and have led to restrictions on updating certain entries. The website has also come in for criticism due to the fact that its volunteers are overwhelmingly white males from Western countries, with critics saying it lacks information about women and developing nations

GulfNews Technology

Samsung launches the redesigned S21 series packed with cameras and even S-Pen capabilities

Technology|: Today, Samsung announced the sequel to last year’s Galaxy S20 lineup. With the Galaxy S21 series, the South Korean giant wants to focus on design and camera technology. While these are the biggest changes with the devices, there is more to it with the new Exynos 2100 processor, software tweaks and exclusive S-Pen support.Here's your first look at the Samsung Galaxy S21 SeriesGN YouTube Contour cut camera design One of the most striking features about the Galaxy S21 series is its camera design. Different from last year, the housing is a continuation of the metal frame of the smartphone. Especially with the contrast it creates, it is a design that will grow on you. Moreover, it makes the camera bump seem slightly smaller than it is, which is a good thing. While all three Samsung flagships share this design, only the Galaxy S21+ and Galaxy S21 Ultra come with glass backs. For the Galaxy S21, Samsung has gone for a glass and plastic hybrid material which Samsung likes to call ‘glasstic’. If we were to compare it to any other phone currently on the market, it feels similar to the Galaxy S20 FE. That being said, the change in material does not jeopardise the overall look of the devices. Neither of the smartphones pick up too many fingerprints and they are relatively easy to maintain clean. The host of other feature you typically associate with a flagship smartphone are all here too. You find IP68 water and dust resistance, wireless charging as well as your usual power and volume buttons. Not much on the edges of the device is changed and the overall distribution each Galaxy S21 feels fairly good in the hand. The gorgeous displays on the S21 series all come with a 120Hz variable refresh rate Image Credit: Vaibhav Pradip Quad HD+ display with 120Hz Given the size differences between each Galaxy S21 smartphone, the biggest distinguishing factor is display size. On the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21+, you find a 6.2-inch and 6.7-inch Full HD+ resolution panel respecitively with a variable refresh rate of up to 120Hz. The O-dot panel with a 10MP selfie camera itself is a Dynamic AMOLED 2X one, allowing for an adjustable refresh rate between 48-120Hz depending on the content you are watching. With the Galaxy S21 Ultra, things are a bit different. Not only is the panel slightly curved compared to the flat panel on its younger siblings but it is also bigger and of a higher resolution. You find a 6.8-inch Quad HD+ resolution panel here which shares the O-dot design with a 40MP selfie camera and variable refresh rate up to 120Hz. But the Dynamic AMOLED 2X panel on the Galaxy S21 Ultra has an adjustable refresh rate between 10-120Hz for even better optimisation of content. Users will also be happy to know that with the Galaxy S21 Ultra, you can use both 120Hz and Quad HD+ resolution simultaneously, something that was not possible on last year’s Galaxy lineup. During our initial look, we thought the displays on each smartphone looked great. They were vibrant and responsive, pairing well with the smartphone’s stereo speakers. Exclusive to the Galaxy S20 Ultra, there is also now support for the S-Pen. It is a bigger device, more like a traditional pen and does not feature Bluetooth. However, it is still able to bring the familiar suite of Note features to the S-series lineup. The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra will be the only one with S-Pen capabilites. A first for the S-line! Image Credit: Supplied Exynos 2100 processor According to Samsung, the new Exynos 2100 processor is a significant upgrade from its previous Exynos 990. The octa-core processor sports 5G and brings improvements on all fronts. As far as real world testing is concerned, we could not do much given the limited time. However, the smartphones did feel snappier and did not heat up after extended camera use which is a good sign. Of course, as we get more time with the Galaxy S21 series, we will be able to build on our judgement. With the processor, the Galaxy S21 series packs sizeable RAM and memory configurations. On the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21+, you find 8GB of RAM with either 128GB or 256GB of on-board storage. But unfortunately, there is no micro-SD card expansion here, which is reserved only for the Galaxy S21 Ultra. On the Galaxy S21 Ultra, you can either get 12GB or 16GB of RAM with 128GB, 256GB or 512GB of storage. Given Samsung’s power efficient 5nm processor, battery life on the Galaxy S21 is said to be improved too. While the Galaxy S21 retains a 4,000mAh cell, the Galaxy S21+ sees a bump up to 4,800mAh whereas the Galaxy S21 Ultra has the biggest 5,000mAh battery. All three of these, in addition to supporting wireless charging support fast charging and reverse wireless charging. But with the Galaxy S21 series, you do not find a charging brick included inside the box. The omission, according to Samsung is for environmental reasons but we will have to see how consumers respond to this. Samsung S21's cameras come with a whole range of Pro features including Director's view (seen above) Image Credit: Vaibhav Pradip Camera performance The Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21+ share the same camera unit. It is a triple-camera configuration with a 12MP wide, 64MP telephoto with Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) and a 12MP ultra-wide angle setup. The telephoto lens in question here is capable of 3x optical zoom and 30x digital zoom. In comparison, the Galaxy S21 Ultra has a 108MP wide, dual-10MP telephoto lenses of varying focal lengths, a 12MP ultra-wide sensor and a Laser AF unit. The AF unit is said to improve the focus performance of the smartphone in comparison to the Galaxy S20 Ultra. But the dual-telephoto lens solution is more interesting. Here, you get a lens for dedicated 3x optical zoom and 10x optical zoom, which should bump up the quality of images taken overall. On the Galaxy S20 Ultra, you can zoom all the way up to 100x, and both the wide and dual-telephoto lenses all sport OIS. Hardware differences aside, the core software suite of the Galaxy S21 series camera remains identical. You find 8K video recording at 24fps and a new feature called Director’s Cut, allowing you to film with all the lenses on the smartphones simultaneously. However, we think being able to film 4K 60fps video with each camera lens is a big upgrade. In the past, this was not possible on Samsung flagships and we are glad to see support for it this year.