WhatsApp confirms that Malicious Actors were Successful in Installing a Government-Grade Spyware on Victims' Devices!

It’s a well-known fact that WhatsApp takes its security very seriously but even it is not completely immune from a breach attempt. Recently, a vulnerability was discovered and fixed that enabled hackers to remotely install a government-grade spyware on the victims’ devices.

It seems like the spyware was able to take advantage of a bug in the audio call feature and enabled the called to give a green signal to the installation of the spyware on the device being called, irrespective of whether the receiver answered the call or not.

The spyware being discussed here was Pegasus (developed by Israel-based NSO Group). It allows governments to take control of various aspects of their targets’ devices.

There’s still no word regarding the number of users who were affected by it but according to WhatsApp, the number shouldn’t be big as deploying it should have been important, which would have allowed only experienced and motivated hackers to take advantage of it.

WhatsApp assured everyone that it took the company a little over a week to patch the vulnerability, once it came to know about it. Users are strictly recommended to upgrade to the latest version of WhatsApp at their earliest to prevent themselves from such exploits.


As for the NSO group, although WhatsApp didn’t take a direct shot at the group, it is clear that it is indeed under suspicion as WhatsApp issued a statement in which it claimed that the attack clearly seems like a work of a private company affiliated with governments to take control of functions of mobile devices.

It’s not common for WhatsApp to let things go so easily in such instances but the exception here is that it is all part of the 0-day game to prevent or breach the latest security measures. However, WhatsApp has taken up the issue to the Department of Justice as well as a number of human rights organizations.

Thus, WhatsApp has been doing its part to keep the platform safe from such exploits. Meanwhile, all of us should just make sure that our apps are up to date.

WhatsApp confirms that Malicious Actors were Successful in Installing a Government-Grade Spyware on Victims' Devices!
Photo: Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

Sources: Ft.com / TechCrunch.

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