WhatsApp, the world's most popular messaging service, sued Israeli company NSO Group for allegedly helping various government agencies in hacking.
The Israeli company has been accused of targeting diplomats, political leaders, journalists and senior government officials in various countries in their phones.
In a San Francisco court case, Facebook-owned WhatsApp accused the NSO of hacking it to governments in 20 countries, but only to Mexico, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Are.
WhatsApp said in a statement that 100 members of the civil society were targeted, while NSO denied the allegations.
The company said in a statement: "We strongly deny the allegations and will fight against it in full force; the sole purpose of NSO is to provide licensed government intelligence technology and terrorism to law enforcement agencies." And help fight against serious crimes. "
WhatsApp said the malware was exploited to exploit the vulnerability of the video calling system on mobile devices of many users, which in turn enabled NSO's clients (various governments and rental agencies, etc.) to phone owners. Assisted in secret espionage while his digital lives were subjected to government scrounge.
It should be noted that the monthly number of users of WhatsApp is more than one and a half billion and is considered to be a good security app that has an end-to-end encryption feature that does not allow WhatsApp or third parties to read messages.
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Cybersecurity company Citizen Lab investigated the phone-hacking case with WhatsApp, and news organizations were told Reuters that the targets of the Israeli company were leading television personalities, well-known women (who were victims of online hate campaigns). ) And those who have faced assassination attacks and threats of violence.
However, Citizen Lab or WhatsApp declined to disclose the names of those targets.
Scott Wottenk, a lawyer who looks at cyber-security cases, called the WhatsApp move excellent because it was for the first time that an important service overtook fears of too much talk about digital security.
He said other companies would be interested in the progress of the case 'this would set an example'.
The lawsuit calls for NSO to be blocked from accessing or attempting to access WhatsApp and Facebook services.
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In May this year, the US newspaper The Financial Times first reported a WhatsApp vulnerability that enabled the attacker to enter spyware (spy software) through phone calls.
The US newspaper said the spyware was developed by Israel's Cyber Surveillance Company (NSO), which is known for producing mobile phone monitoring devices and affected both Android and iPhone.
WhatsApp says it is investigating the matter but is convinced that 'only a few users have been targeted by modern cyber technology'.
A WhatsApp spokeswoman said the attack was carried out very systematically, with all the indications that 'this monitoring was done by a private company.