An attack on 1400 WhatsApp users was making headlines in October 2019. At the time, Facebook filed a lawsuit against NSO Group, the source of the Pegasus software. The case is now back in the news amid more detailed revelations about the Israeli malware, marketed on a much larger scale than just terrorist and criminal surveillance.
In an interview with The Guardian, IM CEO Will Cathcart confirmed the source of the 2019 attack. The affected Android and iPhone smartphones were indeed spied on via the Pegasus software. “The reports are consistent with what we saw in the attack we defeated two years ago, they are very consistent with what we were revealing,” he said.
Rather than talking about NSO Group – with whom WhatsApp is in court – and its own security systems, Will Cathart pointed the finger at smartphone brands for their lack of protection. “This should be a wake-up call for internet security … mobile phones are either safe for everyone or they are not safe for everyone,” he exclaimed. Apple is playing big with its image with such revelations…
WhatsApp is, unsurprisingly, a prime channel for spyware to get in. From what we know about the Pegasus malware, which can absolutely track all your data, messenger vulnerabilities are the most used. Programs like iMessages, on the iPhone, allowed Pegasus to send a message without the user even having to click on it to get into the system.
The executive also said that confirming the nature of the surveillance of those 1,400 WhatsApp users would be the right way to sound the alarm for the rest. “It tells us that over a longer period of time, over a period of years, the number of people attacked is very high,” he said. “That’s why we thought it was so important to raise the concern about this.”
Also read – Pegasus cyber espionage: are you affected?
In a week of revelations, published by the 17 media partners of the “Pegasus Project” initiative launched by the “Forbidden Stories” organization, we have learned multiple news about the power and the drifts of the spying malware. We discovered that several French people were affected (over 1000), among them the President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron.
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