In a shocking revelation, WhatsApp informed that an Israeli Spyware was used to spy on Indian journalists and activists. The spyware named “Pegasus” was used to monitor the activities of over two dozen academics, lawyers, Dalit activists, and journalists.
— Abhijit Mukherjee (@ABHIJIT_LS) October 31, 2019
The spyware required the target to click on an exploit link which then allows the operator to penetrate security features on the phone and installs Pegasus without the user’s knowledge.
The Israeli spyware is strong enough to allow the operators to access passwords, text messages on apps like WhatsApp. WhatsApp’s spokesperson said that they were aware of this activity and have reached out to those who were being targeted.
Government of India is concerned at the breach of privacy of citizens of India on the messaging platform Whatsapp. We have asked Whatsapp to explain the kind of breach and what it is doing to safeguard the privacy of millions of Indian citizens. 1/4 pic.twitter.com/YI9Fg1fWro— Ravi Shankar Prasad (@rsprasad) October 31, 2019
WhatsApp, however, denied to disclose the name of those who were targeted using the spyware. Recently the popular messaging platform sued an Israeli surveillance firm NSO Group, which is reportedly behind the technology that helped government spies to hack into phones of roughly 1,400 users.
The list of 1,400 users includes diplomats, political dissidents, journalists, and senior government officials spanned across four continents. The monitoring through spyware happened in May this year.
Taking cognizance of the issue the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has written to WhatsApp on security breach and has asked for a detailed response by Monday.