WhatsApp security breach: Amnesty International files lawsuit against NSO Group

Amnesty alleges that NSO's spyware has been used to surveil its staff and other human rights defenders.

NSO Group, an Israel-based cyber intelligence group linked to WhatsApp's most recent privacy scare is now facing a lawsuit backed by Amnesty International.

Amnesty claims that the organisation fears its staff may be under surveillance from spyware installed via the messaging service.

As per a report by Digital Trends, the lawsuit has been filed in Israel by about 50 members and supporters of Amnesty International Israel and others from the human rights community. Amnesty has also called on the country's ministry of defence to ban the export of NSO's Pegasus software, which can quietly take control of a mobile phone, copy its data and turn on the microphone for surveillance.

A logo of WhatsApp is pictured on a T-shirt worn by a WhatsApp-representative. Reuters

A logo of WhatsApp is pictured on a T-shirt worn by a WhatsApp-representative. Reuters

An affidavit from Amnesty filed in court concludes that "staff of Amnesty International have an ongoing and well-founded fear they may continue to be targeted and ultimately surveilled" after a hacking attempt last year.

Amnesty, meanwhile, also sought to revoke the export license for NSO following the breach which allowed attackers to inject spyware onto phones by simply placing a WhatsApp audio call.

While it did not comment on specific attacks, NSO said in a statement following a breach last week said that it would investigate any "credible allegations of misuse" of its technology which "is solely operated by intelligence and law enforcement agencies."

This, however, isn't the first time that NSO Group has been accused of wrongful surveillance. An investigation by the New York Times, earlier this year, found that NSO's Pegasus software also played a role in the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

(Also read: WhatsApp Hack: How a simple VOIP call can open your phone up to hackers)

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