WhatsApp recently announced it is suing notorious spyware seller, NSO Group, claiming the company was actively engaged in hacking users of the coded chat service. The said spyware reportedly aimed to attack both the human rights advocates and journalists. Earlier this year, a major software in susceptibility in WhatsApp was unveiled.
Using the flaw, hackers, as reported in The Verge, "could load spyware onto a phone through a video call," even if the person from the other line doesn't answer the call. The vulnerability was discovered by the organization, Citizen Lab, saying at that the time of the discovery, the attack was being used to target human rights advocates and journalists.
Denying the Accusation
The spyware used to attack the said users is called Pegasus. It was developed by NSO Group, an Israel-based software developer whose software has always reportedly been used by oppressive governments worldwide. Following WhatsApp's discovery and revelation of the flaw, NSO Group denied its involvement in the software, which, it was accused of eventually spreading to governments.
Despite NSO's denial, WhatsApp said it was confident about its accusation as the company has evidence of the software development company's involvement in the spyware, specifically, its attack. Will Cathcart, WhatsApp head, said, "Now, we are seeking to hold NSO accountable" under the federal and U.S. State laws, which also include the Abuse Act and U.S. Computer Fraud.
Cathcart added Facebook-owned WhatsApp linked services and servers used in the attack with NSO Group. It also divulged the evidence related to WhatApp accounts, which the spyware vendor attacked. But, despite the attack, according to the WhatsApp official, the attempts to hack or cover the users' tracks were not completely successful. A similar report indicated about 1400 devices were said to be infected by malicious code.
An Ongoing Case
In relation to the issue, WhatsApp asked a court to prohibit the NSO Group from taking the same action in the future. And, to address the issue, the company committed to continuing to do everything it can within its code, and within the courts of the legislations, to help protect the security and privacy of its users anywhere in the world.
Before this report, Citizen Lab also attributed the attack to NSO Group. Meanwhile, the group cited WhatsApp in the announcement. Despite the ongoing issue and lawsuit against NSO Group, WhatsApp never ceases to offer its valued customers great deals to make the most out of the app. In fact, before the news about suing the spyware vendor, WhatsApp released a whole range of features for its users to try and experience.