WhatsApp was hacked by Israel’s NSO Group and attackers installed sophisticated spyware on an unknown number of people’s smartphones.
WhatsApp, which has 1.5 billion users, said an advanced cyber actor infected an unknown number of people’s devices with the malware, which it said it discovered in early May.
The Financial Times first reported the vulnerability. It said the bad actors were able to install the surveillance technology by phoning the target through WhatsApp’s call functionality, giving them access to information including location data and private messages.
The hackers were able to exploit a vulnerability by calling the target via WhatsApp. Even if they didn’t pick up, the malware was able to infect the target.
The FT reported that the spyware was developed by Israel’s NSO Group, whose Pegasus software is known to have been used against human rights activists. The firm denied any involvement in a statement to the FT.