WhatsApp discovers 'targeted' surveillance attack Watch

AngeryPenguin
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Hackers were able to remotely install surveillance software on phones and other devices using a major vulnerability in messaging app WhatsApp, it has been confirmed.

WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, said the attack targeted a "select number" of users and was orchestrated by "an advanced cyber-actor".

A fix was rolled out on Friday.

On Monday, WhatsApp urged all of its 1.5 billion users to update their apps as an added precaution.

The surveillance software involved was developed by Israeli firm NSO Group, according to a report in the Financial Times.

Facebook first discovered the flaw in WhatsApp earlier in May.

"Journalists, lawyers, activists and human rights defenders" are most likely to have been targeted, said Ahmed Zidan from the non-profit Committee to Protect Journalists.

It involved attackers using WhatsApp's voice calling function to ring a target's device.

Even if the call was not picked up, the surveillance software could be installed. According to the FT report, the call would often disappear from the device's call log.

"The attack has all the hallmarks of a private company reportedly that works with governments to deliver spyware that takes over the functions of mobile phone operating systems,” WhatsApp said on Monday in a briefing document note for journalists.

In a statement, the group said: "NSO's technology is licensed to authorised government agencies for the sole purpose of fighting crime and terror. "

According to the New York Times, one of the people targeted was a London-based lawyer involved in a lawsuit against the NSO Group.

Amnesty International, which said it had been targeted by tools created by the NSO Group in the past, said this attack was one human rights groups had long feared was possible.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-48262681
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Napp
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Meh, just another day in the 21st century. It's hardly surprising.
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