WhatsApp tells govt officials that it acted quickly to curb impact of spyware: Report

MeitY official had sought WhatsApp's clarification on the spyware that allowed perpetrators to snoop on users.

WhatsApp was asked for details by the government after a report pointed out that an Israeli cyber intelligence group exploited a vulnerability in the app's calling function to inject spyware.

As per a report by The Economic Times, the Facebook-owned entity has now responded saying, "While no safety programme including ours is perfect and we must constantly improve… we are committed to doing all we can to prevent these abuses to our systems."

WhatsApp clarified in its statement to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology that the vulnerability was dealt with through several server-side patches, which meant that it isn't imperative for users to update the app to deal with the vulnerability. The popular chat platform did, however, suggest that users update their app as a matter of "abundant caution."

Image: Reuters

Image: Reuters

MeitY officials had asked WhatsApp for more clarity on the reported spyware hack that allowed attackers to snoop on users and if any remedial action had been taken thus far.

A government official speaking to the publication mentioned that WhatsApp also told the government that it had cracked down on most unofficial versions of WhatsApp, including action against 4 million such accounts abusing these bogus variants during the general election polling period.”

This was in response to reports that claimed that there were several bogus clones offering to allow users software hacks to bypass the app's forwarding restrictions.

These modified versions of WhatsApp, bundled with other software tools were being sold unofficially to digital marketers and political activists, helping them bypass anti-spam restrictions set up by the Facebook-owned company.

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