WhatsApp security breach may have government surveillance ties: Reuters

WhatsApp
The Israeli software used in the attack was designed for intelligence agencies to use to fight terrorism. (WhatsApp)

Facebook messaging system WhatsApp has been hit with a security breach that the company said could leave uses vulnerable to malicious spyware being installed on their smartphones.

 

eBook

Get the keys to unlock the full potential of 5G

Are you prepared to navigate the maze of challenges involved in deploying 5G infrastructure? F5 can guide you past the pitfalls and help you unlock the full promise of 5G. Download this whitepaper to learn how to navigate this challenge.

A WhatsApp spokesperson told Reuters that the attacked appeared to be orchestrated by a “private company working with governments on surveillance.”

 

Facebook discovered the breach earlier this month, and last week reported it to the U.S. Justice Department and the European Union’s Data Protection Commission. Facebook has touted the app, which is used by some 1.5 billion people monthly, as being a secure and private messaging system.

 

RELATED: WhatsApp limits forwards in bid to stop misinformation

 

According to a news report from Financial Times (FT), hackers were able to install commercial Israeli spyware, developed by Israel's NSO Group, onto Android and iPhone handsets through the app.

 

The software was designed for intelligence agencies to use to fight terrorism. The software is able to ring users’ phones and thereby gain access to the device through the WhatsApp call function. FT reported that the software can work even if the targeted users do not answer the calls.

 

WhatsApp is still investigating the breach, and has not yet said how many users may have been affected by the issue. It said it was able to quickly fix the breach, and urged users to update the app and their phone OS to protect themselves against security breaches.

Suggested Articles

The FCC plans changes to its Lifeline program, a federal initiative meant to lower the monthly cost of phone and internet for low-income individuals.

New research, again based off Wehe test results, indicates wireless carriers are throttling video content, regardless of location or time of day, and that…

In their latest round of comments to the FCC, both users and would-be users of the C-Band argued whether fiber is the best alternative for delivering the types…