This vulnerability allowed attackers to install malicious code on phones on iOS and Android, by making an incoming call to the target device. According to the Financial Times, the code can be installed even if the call is ignored.
Representatives of the Facebook subsidiary claim that the malicious code is similar to spyware developed for special services.
“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,” the representative of WhatsApp said to the publishing.
According to the source, spyware was developed by the Israeli company NSO Group, engaged in the field of cybersecurity and intelligence.
In a statement published by CNN, NSO company said: “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 Group said its technology was licensed to government agencies “for the sole purpose of fighting crime and terror,” “for the sole purpose of fighting crime and terror,” adding that those agencies determine how the technology is used without any involvement from the company.
Vulnerability and expected attacks were examined by Citizen Lab, a research team from the University of Toronto. As reported, one of the victims could be a London human rights lawyer.
On Sunday, he received two calls, which John Scott-Railton, a senior researcher at Citizen Lab, regarded as an attack. The researcher said that an obvious attempt to hack the lawyer’s phone failed because by Sunday the vulnerability in the WhatsApp service had already been fixed. In order to avoid a possible attack, messenger users are recommended to upgrade to the latest version.
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