Sci-tech

WhatsApp vulnerability allowed secretive installation of spyware

WhatsApp vulnerability allowed secretive installation of spyware”

TechCrunch reports that the vulnerability discovered by WhatsApp just a few weeks ago, would allow a caller to install a spyware on the device being called, regardless of whether or not the could was answered.

"WhatsApp encourages people to upgrade to the latest version of our app, as well as keep their mobile operating system up to date, to protect against potential targeted exploits created to compromise information stored on mobile devices", a WhatsApp spokesperson said in a statement.

Spyware crafted by an "advanced cyber actor" infected multiple targeted mobile phones through the popular WhatsApp communications program without any user intervention through in-app voice calls, the company said. Logs of the incoming calls were often erased, according to the report.

Although it refrained from naming the company, WhatsApp is probably referring to NSO Group, an Israel technology firm notorious for developing a spyware program known as Pegasus that's targeted human rights activists, politicians and journalists.

Under no circumstances would NSO be involved in the operating or identifying of targets of its technology, which is exclusively operated by intelligence and law enforcement agencies. It remains unknown how many WhatsApp users were affected. Keeping the app updated should keep you safe from this particular spyware.

First reported by the Financial Times and confirmed by WhatsApp, the issue was discovered in early May and was promptly fixed by the company.

"We are constantly working alongside industry partners to provide the latest security enhancements to help protect our users".

NSO is most well-known for the sale of its spyware, Pegasus, to state intelligence agencies. Its publicly stated goal is to help authorities fight terrorism and crime but it doesn't require much to imagine how it can be used for other purposes by other, less conscientious elements as well.

"We investigate any credible allegations of misuse and if necessary, we take action, including shutting down the system". NSO, however, rejected the notion that it was involved. NSO would not, or could not, use its technology in its own right to target any person or organisation, including this individual.

Monday, Amnesty International - which said previous year that one its staffers was also targeted with the spyware - said it would join in a legal bid to force Israel's Ministry of Defence to suspend NSO's export license. Although we have no information that would confirm who's behind the attack, the spyware used is usually sold to governments.

NSO sent a statement in response to questions about this attack.



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