WhatsApp Hack: Facebook Drags NSO Group To Court

Pappi Hex

Social network giant Facebook has dragged Israeli company NSO Group, creator of the Pegasus spyware, with claims that it was behind the hack of WhatsApp this year.

The vulnerability which was identified as CVE-2019-3568 allowed hackers to exploit by installing the Pegasus spyware on targeted Android and iOS device via WhatsApp call. This vulnerability was such that the malware would install itself in the victims device even if the call wasn't answered.

Facebook in its lawsuit claims that NSO Group developed the surveillance code and used vulnerable WhatsApp servers to send malware to roughly about 1,400 mobile devices.

Also Read: GBWhatsApp Shuts Down Permanently For Good

"After months of investigation, we can say who was behind this attack," Will Cathcart, head of WhatsApp said yesterday in a piece to the Washington Post. "Today, we have filled a complaint in federal court that explains what happened and attributes the intrusion to an international technology company called NSO Group."

"We learned that the attackers used servers and Internet-hosting services that were previously associated with NSO," Cathcart said. "In addition, as our complaint notes, we have tied certain WhatsApp accounts used during the attacks back to NSO. While their attack was highly sophisticated, their attempts to cover their tracks were not entirely successful."

Courts documents says the attack targeted at least 100 human right defenders, journalist and other members of civil society worldwide. However, in a statement to the BBC NSO Group denied involvement in the alleged attack.

"NSO's technology is licensed to authorized government agencies for the sole purpose of fighting crime and terror....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. NSO would not or could not use its technology in its own right to target any person or organisation."

Cathcart said NSO Group's moves violates several US state and federal law, including US Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Facebook also seeks to bar NSO Group from using Facebook and WhatsApp services, and as well seeking other damages.

"We believe people have a fundamental right to privacy and that no one else should have access to your private conversations, not even us," Whatsapp's head said. "Mobile phones provide us with great utility, but turned against us they can reveal our locations and our private messages, and record sensitive conversations we have with others."

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