Having a user base of an estimated 1.5 billion, the security flaw uncovered by WhatsApp, a Facebook-owned messaging service, is a cause of concern.
The flaw is said to allow hackers to install and use commercial Israeli surveillance spyware on phones, according to international reports.
The attack is said to be developed by Israeli NSO Group
The attack took place by using the calling function on WhatsApp to ring the target’s phone, and even if the calls weren’t picked up, the surveillance software would be installed.
The attack was said to have been developed by Israeli security firm NSO Group whose main product is named Pegasus, a software that can browse messages and mail, collect data and turn on a mobile phone’s camera and microphone.
Human rights defenders and Amnesty employees have been targeted
Financial Times has reported that A UK-based human rights lawyer’s phone was targeted and Amnesty International has stated that at least 24 human rights defenders, journalists and Amnesty employees have been targeted.
WhatsApp, in an email to Euronews, has said, “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”