Update WhatsApp to avoid this latest spyware attack

New Delhi: Following a spyware attack, popular messaging app WhatsApp has released an independent advisory asking user to update the app following the discovery of a security flaw that enabled surveillance software to be placed on a target’s phone via the app’s call feature.

The sophisticated spyware, called Pegasus, was developed by Israeli security firm NSO Group and discovered by WhatsApp earlier this month, according to a Financial Times (FT) report on Monday, May 13.

The spyware could be installed on Android and iPhone handsets simply by calling the targeted person through WhatsApp. In other words, it could be injected even if the call wasn’t answered. Call logs would even disappear from the target’s device, erasing any evidence that their phone had been tampered with.

“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,” WhatsApp said in comments reported by the FT, though the Facebook-owned company declined to give any specific names.

WhatsApp said it’s still investigating the matter and it was too early to say how many users had been impacted by the spyware, suggesting only that it was a “select number” of people.

Even though vulnerability has been fixed, WhatsApp has still advised its users to update as a precautionary measure. It was also advised that the users make sure their mobile operating system is up to date to ensure the proper protection against potential targeted exploits designed to access information stored on mobile devices.

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