O Whatsapp it was used to spy on senior officials from at least 20 countries on five continents. The attacks were said to have occurred earlier this year, taking advantage of a vulnerability in the Facebook messaging app, and could have strong diplomatic consequences.
The information is Reuters, which obtained information from sources alongside an internal WhatsApp investigation against the Israeli company NSO Group. She exploited a flaw that allowed surveillance software to be installed on iPhones and Androids through a call to the victim’s WhatsApp. The exploit left no apparent trace and worked even if the target did not answer the call.
According to Reuters, most affected governments are allied with the United States. The victims are located in the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Mexico, Pakistan, India and other countries. In India, journalists, academics and lawyers have spoken out publicly to declare that they have been spied on.
It is not known who took advantage of the flaw, which installed spy software on cell phones of at least 1,400 people between April and May 2019, according to figures released by Facebook. The NSO Group, which developed the exploit, says it only provides services to government agencies with the aim of combating terrorism.
This Friday (1st), the minister of the Israeli security office, Zeev Elkin, denied any accusation against the Israeli government and informed that the NSO Group is a private entity with no state involvement.
Meanwhile, WhatsApp is suing the NSO Group for exploiting the vulnerability in the messaging app. According to WhatsApp, the Israeli company also created fake accounts between 2018 and 2019 with phone numbers from Israel, Indonesia, Sweden, the Netherlands and Brazil to send malware to victims. The NSO says it will fight in court against the allegations.