Whatsapp is being criticized for the Pegasus spyware and alleged data breach. According to various media reports, it took place during the 2019 General Elections, which ran from April 11 to May 23 this year. But it has claimed that the Indian Government has used the spyware to spy on a dozen online WhatsApp users.
A cybersecurity research lab at the University of Toronto has reported that various human rights defenders, activists, and journalists were generally targetted by the Pegasus spyware. Newslaundry has announced a list.
The lab had contacted a human rights lawyer, Gera, and said that her name was on the list of numbers that were snooped on. She said in a report,
“I was informed that the software used to target my phone, cost millions of dollars, and only an institution such as government could afford it!”
Whatsapp claims that the Israeli surveillance company, NSO Group was behind this massive breach and has filed a lawsuit in US federal court on October 29, 2019.
NSO Group, however, has denied the allegations.
How does the Spyware help in breach of information?
Once installed, it begins to receive the target’s private data, including Whatsapp login password, status for Whatsapp, Whatsapp images, Whatsapp group names, text messages, and send it back.
Various versions such as Whatsapp for Android prior to v2.19.134, Whatsapp for Android prior to v2.19.134, WhatsApp for iOS prior to v2.18.348, WhatsApp for iOS prior to v2.18.348, etc. are affected by Pegasus spyware.
The Blame Game!
The Indian Government is asking the Whatsapp to explain the breach by November 4, 2019, and also to share plans for the prevention of such occurrences in the future.