WhatsApp reportedly confirms that Israeli spyware was being used to track Indian journalists

WhatsApp first found a cyberattack involving a vulnerability in their video-calling feature back in May.

It was revealed yesterday that Facebook-owned online messaging platform WhatsApp sued Israeli surveillance firm NSO Group on Tuesday, accusing it of helping government spies break into the phones of roughly 1,400 users. Now it appears that some of those users had been Indian journalists.

 WhatsApp reportedly confirms that Israeli spyware was being used to track Indian journalists


A WhatsApp spokesperson told Indian Express that the company was aware of those targeted and had contacted each one of them.

WhatsApp first found a cyberattack involving a vulnerability in their video-calling feature back in Maywherein users were being attacked with spyware via a malicious video call, that would affect their device even without them answering the call.

“Indian journalists and human rights activists have been the target of surveillance and while I cannot reveal their identities and the exact number, I can say that it is not an insignificant number,” a WhatsApp spokesperson said in an interview with Indian Express.

WhatsApp head had said that their investigation led them to servers and Internet-hosting services that were previously associated with NSO.

Citizen Lab, a cybersecurity research laboratory based at the University of Toronto that worked with WhatsApp to investigate the phone hacking, told Reuters that the targets included well-known television personalities, prominent women who had been subjected to online hate campaigns and people who had faced “assassination attempts and threats of violence.”

Neither Citizen Lab nor WhatsApp identified the targets by name.

(Also read: WhatsApp security breach: Amnesty international files lawsuit against NSO group)

Governments have increasingly turned to sophisticated hacking software as officials seek to push their surveillance power into the furthest corners of their citizens' digital lives.

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