WhatsApp spyware attack was attempt to hack human rights data, says lawyer

Posted in: Legal & Security at 15/05/2019 20:14

The UK lawyer whose phone was targeted by spyware that exploits a WhatsApp vulnerability said it appeared to be a desperate attempt by someone to covertly find out the details of his human rights work.

The lawyer, who asked not to be named, is involved in a civil case brought against the Israeli surveillance company NSO Group whose sophisticated Pegasus malware has reportedly been used against Mexican journalists, and a prominent Saudi dissident living in Canada.

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WhatsApp Zero-Day Exploited in Targeted Spyware Attacks
A zero-day vulnerability in WhatsApp was exploited by attackers who were able to inject spyware onto victims’ phones in targeted campaigns.

First reported by the Financial Times, the popular messaging app discovered in early May that attackers were installing surveillance software on iPhones and Android phones – by calling victims using WhatsApp’s call function. WhatsApp is owned by Facebook and is used by 1.5 billion people globally. The messaging platform touts itself as a secure end-to-end encryption app for communications.

WhatsApp hack: have I been affected and what should I do?
Users are being urged to update their WhatsApp smartphone apps immediately because of a security bug that allows hackers to take over your phone by simply calling it, whether or not you answer.

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