WhatsApp users must update now to avoid spyware attacks

15 Mai, 2019, 18:43 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • The Whats App logo is displayed on the screen of a computer in Paris France

Coincidentally, Amnesty International announced on Monday, that it "is supporting a legal action to take the Israeli Ministry of Defense (MoD) to court, to demand that it revokes the export license of NSO Group, an Israeli company whose spyware products have been used in chilling attacks on human rights defenders around the world".

WhatsApp has alerted human rights groups and the US Justice Department.

The NSO rejected any involvement in this act and said "Under no circumstances would NSO be involved in operating or identifying of targets of its technology".

The Facebook-owned company confirmed that a "select number" of users had been victims and that the bug, which affects all but the latest version of the app on iOS and Android, was orchestrated by an "advanced cyber actor".

WhatsApp is scrambling to determine the impact of a now-patched vulnerability in its iPhone and Android apps that allowed hackers to inject spyware into users' devices. The security hole is at the center of at least one known recent hacking attempt against a lawyer representing a group suing the surveillance software vendor that made the spyware.

On Sunday, the lawyer received two calls that John Scott-Railton, a senior researcher at the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab believes were part of the attack.

Description: 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.

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It's not immediately clear how numerous app's 1.5 billion users were affected but a WhatsApp spokesperson told the Financial Times that "a number in the dozens would not be inaccurate".

Who's behind it? Its development is likely to have been directed by a government, and the suspected attacks were targeted to specific individuals, WhatsApp said.

Facebook's engineers have been busy trying to patch the flaw, designated as CVE-2019-3568, and an updated version of WhatsApp has already been pushed out to users.

Still, it too urged users to ensure the update WhatsApp on their devices.

If you own an Android phone, click on Play Store, then on the menu button.

Pegasus, the malicious software in question, has been developed by the Israeli company NSO and sold to various governments and government agencies to fight crime and terrorism, apparently, however, it has been used for very different purposes in recent years, particularly against activists for civil rights, journalists and dissidents.

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