Facebook sues observation company NSO Group over so-called WhatsApp hack

The Israeli company attempted to hack about 1,400 people using WhatsApp. Facebook is taking valid action against the Israeli company NSO Group, maintaining that it was behind a targeted hacking campaign against people using WhatsApp.  

The action, filed on Tuesday, that NSO Group was responsible for a security defect that allowed potential hackers to install spyware through a phone call, Targeted casualty didn’t need to pick up the phone or take any action, and it affected both iPhones and Android devices. The NSO Group refuse the claim and said it planned to “strongly fight” them.

“The sole purpose of NSO is to provide technology to licensed government intelligence and law enforcement agencies to help them fight terrorism and serious crime,” NSO said in a statement.

“Our technology is not designed or licensed for use against human rights activists and journalists. It has helped to save thousands of lives over recent years.”

While drive-by install like Pegasus and the WhatsApp exploit is not general, the malware is used for targeted attacks on specific people. WhatsApp said it believes about 1,400 people were targeted by the phone call use, which included journalists, attorneys, human rights activists, government officials, political dissidents, and diplomats. 

“This attack was developed to access messages after they were decrypted on an infected device, abusing in-app vulnerabilities and the operating systems that power our mobile phones,” WhatsApp said in a statement.

The casualty was in countries including Mexico, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain.WhatsApp’s head, Will Cathcart, said the hackers behind the users were using services and internet hosting services associated with the NSO Group. 

“While their attack was highly worldly-wise, their attempts to cover their tracks were not entirely successful,” Cathcart said. 

This is the second Facebook has filed this week to protect the digital security It used two domain hosts over phishing websites targeting the social network. The NSO Group imposes the Computer. Fraud and Abuse Act by creating the WhatsApp exposure and exploiting it. The company is seeking a permanent order to ban the NSO Group from using WhatsApp again. 

“This is the first time that an encrypted messaging provider is taking legal action against a private entity that has carried out this type of attack against its users,” WhatsApp said.

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