Wednesday, 17 July, 2019


This WhatsApp Flaw Allowed Israeli Hackers To Send Spyware Via Voice Call

Concerns that the software was used in attempts to access the phones of human rights campaigners Concerns that the software was used in attempts to access the phones of human rights campaigners
Bennie Garza | 14 May, 2019, 10:25

The messaging platform also said the attack bore "all the hallmarks of a private company known to work with governments to deliver spyware that reportedly takes over the functions of mobile phone operating systems".

According to WhatsApp, it suspects a relatively small number of users were targeted.

WhatsApp has asked its users to update to the latest version of its mobile app due to a major security vulnerability.

A fix was rolled out on Friday. WhatsApp has also reported the issue to the US Department of Justice, which declined to comment to the Financial Times. Pegasus can turn on a target's microphone and camera at will, peruse emails and texts, and track location - all without the target's knowledge. But it may have been used to attack a UK-based human rights lawyer this past Sunday, according to Citizen Lab, a watchdog group at the University of Toronto, which has been investigating NSO Group's activities.

WhatsApp spyware attack: How was the attack carried out?

Logs of the incoming calls were often erased, meaning there was no trace of the call taking place.

WhatsApp spyware attack: Who is behind the software used?

The spyware was allegedly developed by the Israeli cyber intelligence company NSO Group, reports the Financial Times.

The company identified and fixed the security flaw, but said that some users were targeted. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World. "NSO would not or could not use its technology in its own right to target any person or organisation".

"We are deeply concerned about the abuse of such capabilities", WhatsApp said in a statement.

"There's nothing a user could have done here, short of not having the app", he said.

WhatsApp has confirmed that a risky voice call exploit allowed malicious parties to load NSO Group's Pegasus spyware onto Android and iOS devices.

WhatsApp is encouraging users to update to the latest version of the app after discovering a vulnerability that allowed spyware to be injected into a user's phone through the app's phone call function.

The messaging company said it has briefed human rights organisations on the finding, and notified US law enforcement to help them conduct an investigation.

"The issue affects WhatsApp for Android prior to v2.19.134, WhatsApp Business for Android prior to v2.19.44, WhatsApp for iOS prior to v2.19.51, WhatsApp Business for iOS prior to v2.19.51, WhatsApp for Windows Phone prior to v2.18.348, and WhatsApp for Tizen prior to v2.18.15".

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