WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned messaging platform has urged its 1.5 billion users to upgrade the app after it discovered a vulnerability that allows spyware to be installed on users' phones via WhatsApps phone call function.
According to Financial Times reports, the spyware was allegedly developed by the Israeli cyber intelligence company NSO Group.
The vulnerability leveraged a bug in WhatsApp's audio call feature that would facilitate in the spyware installed on the device being called whether the call was answered or not. According to WhatsApp, it has fixed the vulnerability that was discovered last month.
The company said in a statement, "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 Israel-based NSO Group works for the government that looks to infect targets of the investigation and gain access to other aspects of the device.
The WhatsApp statement read, without mentioning the NSO Group, "The attack has all the hallmarks of a private company reportedly that works with governments to deliver spyware that takes over the functions of mobile phone operating systems".
NSO Group told the Financial Times: "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".
The company added by saying "NSO would not or could not use its technology in its own right to target any person or organization".
NSO has limited its sales of spyware called Pegasus to state intelligence agencies and others, where the software has an ability to collect intimate data via target device.
According to WhatsApp, that there were a small number of users that were affected.
According to a TechCrunch report, "This is, as you can imagine, an extremely severe security hole, and it is difficult to fix the window during which it was open, or how many people were affected by it".
(With IANS inputs)
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