Whatsapp, a subsidiary of facebook said it has discovered a surveillance attack which has targeted a “select number” of users which has was orchestrated by an advanced cyber actor. The attack has been developed by NSO group, an Israeli security firm, a report in financial times has disclosed.
On 13th of May 2019, whatsapp urged about 1.5 billion users of the app worldwide to upgrade the app on their devices for any necessary precautions. The attack has been discovered early this month by their security team. Whatapp told BBC that, the attack was first discovered by their security team. They were able to detect the flaw and later shared that information with human rights groups, selected security vendors and the US Department of Justice earlier this month.
The firm also published an advisory to security specialists, in which it described the flaw as: “A buffer overflow vulnerability in WhatsApp VOIP stack allowed remote code execution via specially crafted series of SRTCP packets sent to a target phone number. Whatsapp also confirmed that a vulnerability in the popular communications app let mobile phones, iphones and android phones be infected with sophisticated spyware with just a missed in the apps voice call alone.
The NSO Group is an Israeli company that has been referred to in the past as a “cyber arms dealer” Its flagship software, Pegasus, has the ability to collect intimate data from a target device, including capturing data through the microphone and camera, and gathering location data.
In a statement, the group said: “NSO’s technology is licensed to authorized government agencies for the sole purpose of fighting crime and terror. WhatsApp said it was too early to know how many users had been affected by the vulnerability although it added that suspected attacks were highly-targeted.
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