Sunday, 31 May 2020 | 16:59 WIB

Whatsapp Hacked by Latest Spyware using VoIP

Whatsapp Hacked by Latest Spyware using VoIP (special)

JAKARTA, NETRALNEWS.COM -- WhatsApp (WA) users are urged to update the application to the latest version after a sophisticated cyber attack.

The application is hastily launching security improvements amid fears that hackers can inject surveillance software into cellphones through the call function.

The company, which is owned by Facebook, discovered a vulnerability that allows hackers to install malicious code on your iPhone and Android phone by calling targeted devices. They say the attacks are similar to spyware developed by intelligence services.

The code can be transmitted even if the user does not answer their phone and the call log is often lost, the Financial Times reported.

WhatsApp claims to have 1.5 billion users worldwide and released a software update.

"We believe a number of selected users have been targeted through this vulnerability by sophisticated cyber actors," WhatsApp said.

"This attack has all the advantages of a private company known to work with the government to provide spyware that has reportedly taken over the functions of the mobile operating system.

"We have directed a number of human rights organizations to share information that we can, and work with them to inform civil society."

There are fears that the software will be used in an effort to access telephone human rights activists, including lawyers living in the UK.

The company is said to have told officials at the US Justice Department after finding vulnerability in early May.

According to the Financial Times, spyware was developed by the NSO Group, a cyber security and intelligence company in Israel.

The company told the newspaper: "Under no circumstances will NSO be involved in the operation or identification of its technological targets, which are solely operated by intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

"The NSO will not, or cannot, use its technology with its own right to target people or organizations, including these individuals (British lawyers)."

Vulnerability and attacks are thought to have been investigated by Citizen Lab, a research group at the University of Toronto.

"We believe an attacker tried (and was blocked by WhatsApp) to exploit it recently to target a human rights lawyer," the laboratory said.

On Monday, Amnesty International said it was supporting legal action against the Israeli Defense Ministry demanding that they revoke the NSO Group export license.

Danna Ingleton, Amnesty Tech's deputy director, said: "The NSO Group sells its products to the government, known for outrageous human rights violations, giving them tools to track activists and critics."