WhatsApp urges customers to improve app after record of spyware attack

Facebook’s WhatsApp on Tuesday urged customers to improve to the recent model of its popular messaging app following a report that customers could be vulnerable to having hazardous spyware placed on mobile phones without their knowledge.

“WhatsApp promotes people to update to the modern model of our app, as well as keep their mobile operating system up to date, to protect against potential targeted exploits built to compromise data stored on cellular phones,” a spokesman declared.

“We are continuously operating alongside industry partners to offer the modern protection enhancements to help secure our customers.” The Fiscal Times recorded that a vulnerability in WhatsApp allowed attackers to inject spyware on mobile phones by ringing up goals utilizing the app’s phone call function. It said the spyware was designed by Israeli cyber surveillance company NSO Group.

Asked about the record, NSO declared its technology is licensed to authorized government authorities “for the sole reason for fighting crime and terror,” and that it does not operate the system itself. “We research any credible allegations of misuse and if required, we take action, like shutting down the method. Under no circumstances would NSO be involved in the working or identifying of goals of its technology, which is solely operated by intelligence and legal requirements enforcement providers,” the company declared.

“NSO would not or could not utilize its technology in its own correct to target anyone or organization, including this individual.” The WhatsApp spyware is sophisticated and “would be available to single advanced and highly encouraged actors”, the organization declared, adding that a “select variety of customers were targeted”.

“This attack has all the hallmarks of a private corporation that works with several governments around the world” according to first research, it added but did not name the firm. WhatsApp has briefed human legal rights businesses on the issue but did not identify them.

The Citizen Lab, an investigation group at the University of Toronto, declared in a tweet it believed an attacker tried to target a human rights legal adviser like currently as Sunday using this flaw but was blocked by WhatsApp.

The NSO Team came to prominence in 2016 when investigators accused it of helping spy on an activist in the United Arab Emirates. Its best-known item is Pegasus, a highly invasive tool that can reportedly switch on a target’s phone camera and microphone, and also access data on it.

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