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NSO Group, Israeli Company That Opened Your Whatsapp To Gov’t Spies


Your messages, voice and video calls of Facebook-owned Whatsapp could not be secret, as government spies could be having easy access to your account just like you do.

This was discovered early this month by Whatsapp, after is was announced that Israeli company,  NSO Group, developed a spyware that opened your data to the government.

The company exploited a vulnerability by Whatsapp that allowed third party users to remotely install spyware on targeted phones.

According to Tech Crunch, the spyware leveraged on a bug in the audio call feature of the app to allow the caller instal spyware on the device being called, whether the call was answered or not.

The spyware is said to have been licensed to governments that were spying on persons of interest.

This was confirmed by Whatsapp, who said that that they had sorted the issue but users would only be safe after an update.

WhatsApp did not name NSO in its remarks, but its suspicions seem clear:

“This attack has all the hallmarks of a private company known to work with governments to deliver spyware that reportedly takes over the functions of mobile phone operating systems.”

Read: WhatsApp Blocks Admins from Adding Users to Groups Against Their Will

On their side, NSO said that its technology is licensed to authorised government agencies for the sole purpose of fighting crime and terror. It added that it doesn’t operate the system itself and “under no circumstances would NSO be involved in the operating or identifying of targets of its technology, which is solely operated by intelligence and law enforcement agencies.”

Despite several criticism messages from users, Whatsapp maintained that the platform is secure.

“WhatsApp encourages people to upgrade to the latest version of our app, as well as keep their mobile operating system up to date, to protect against potential targeted exploits designed to compromise information stored on mobile devices,” the company said in a statement.

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Francis Muli

Written by Francis Muli

Senior reporter at Kahawa Tungu, Muli has a passion for human interest stories. He believes in unearthing societal rots that have been hidden from the public eye. He has also carved himself a niche in writing business stories. He has worked for various organisations including Kenya Television Service, Business Today among others. Follow him on Twitter @FmuliKE.

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