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techkenyot.com May 26, 2019


WhatsApp attacked by advanced spyware via missed calls

15 May 2019, 06:40 | Glen Norman

WhatsApp has closed a vulnerability which allowed spyware to be installed via voice

WhatsApp has closed a vulnerability which allowed spyware to be installed via voice call

TechCrunch reports that the vulnerability discovered by WhatsApp just a few weeks ago, would allow a caller to install a spyware on the device being called, regardless of whether or not the could was answered.

The flaw was discovered while "our team was putting some additional security enhancements to our voice calls" and that engineers found that people targeted for infection "might get one or two calls from a number that is not familiar to them".

"Under no circumstances would NSO be involved in the operating or identifying of targets of its technology, which is exclusively operated by intelligence and law enforcement agencies", the company told the paper.

According to Financial Times, the surveillance software was developed by Israeli cyber service NSO Group.

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Pegasus is able to access the smartphone's camera and microphone, scan emails and messages and collect information on the user's location. It has said that these calls usually disappear from the call logs. Although we have no information that would confirm who's behind the attack, the spyware used is usually sold to governments.

A human rights lawyer in London was allegedly hit by a failed attempt to infect a device, FT reported.

NSO sent a statement in response to questions about this attack.

"Under no circumstances would NSO be involved in the operating or identifying of targets of its technology, which is exclusively operated by intelligence and law enforcement agencies", the company said. "NSO would not or could not use its technology in its own right to target any person or organization".

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Amnesty International filed a petition at the district court of Tel Aviv on Tuesday demanding Israel withdraw NSO's export license, Amnesty's lawyer told CNN Business. When the victim's smartphone receives these packets, an internal buffer within the app is forced to overflow which overwrites other parts of its memory and gives an attacker nearly complete control of the messaging app. The agency decided against doing so after Amnesty International laid out its claims.

NSO Group did not immediately respond to the Guardian's request for a comment.

It is unclear as to how long this exploit was known by hackers and how many people were affected by it. WhatsApp, however, says that it expects only a limited number of users to be affected by it since carrying out the hack is relatively hard and requires motivated hackers and actions.

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