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WhatsApp sues Israeli company NSO for providing hacking technology

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WhatsApp, the chat app owned by Facebook is considered to be one of the most secure messenger apps. The company today announced that it is suing NSO, a Israeli company that is reportedly behind the technology for compromising security on the app. The technology allowed sophisticated hackers or government officials to gain access to a WhatsApp user with a simple video call.

The report of the hack surfaced earlier this year and it was revealed that the technology worked even if users did not pick up the WhatsApp video call. The hackers can then infect the targeted phone and gain almost complete access to it. WhatsApp revealed that over 1400 users, which included many high-profile journalists and rights workers were targeted using his hack. 

“In May 2019 we stopped a highly sophisticated cyber attack that exploited our video calling system in order to send malware to the mobile devices of a number of WhatsApp users,” the company posted on its official website. “WhatsApp has filed a complaint in US court that attributes the attack to a spyware company called NSO Group and its parent company Q Cyber Technologies. We are seeking a permanent injunction banning NSO from using our service.”

At the present stage, there is no threat and the company has updated the app. It launched a probe into how the hack worked and now says that its investigation is complete. After the probe, the company is suing NSO as it believes that not only the Israel-based company created the technology but also provided necessary tools during the actual hacking.

When the hack was reported, NSO, which allegedly supplies technologies to government across the world, claimed that it only worked with governments and hence legitimate customers. Though it claims it did not condone misuse of the technology, WhatsApp boss Will Cathcart disagrees and said NSO was actively involved in hacks.

The lawsuit may not result in any significant change in the shadowy world of hackers, government operatives and tech companies but it will surely raise the subject of whether companies like NSO should world with governments even when they know that their technologies can be misused.

As far as India is concerned, it is not clear how many people in the country were targeted using NSO technologies. Citizen Lab highlights that people in India and Southeast Asia were targeted by hackers that were part of a project called Ganges. “Working with research experts at the Citizen Lab, we believe this attack targeted at least 100 members of civil society, which is an unmistakable pattern of abuse,” notes WhatsApp. 

Ben is a digital entrepreneur and founder of OnTechEdge.com. He is a technology passionate who loves sharing his ideas on smartphones and gadgets. He looks forward to imparting the spectrum of his insight and verdicts on the ‘Technology-driven world’ of today. He plans to take OntechEdge forward with the consistent support from you readers, friends and family! Apart from ontechedge, he also runs digitalagencypoint.com. You can connect with him at [email protected]

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