DailyPost 962


Even while one is forced to accept the fact that getting hacked is the new normal, the circumstances, discovery and its dissemination has put the whole world in a quandary. WhatsApp is where the world communication converges and that too in the multimedia mode, a prime culprit for social media addiction. It’s is famed to have end to end encryption and moving on the lines of iPhone. FBI Vs Apple is San Bernardino case we still remember of. End to end encryption might be is a reality but the other disturbing reality is of security bug which allows to take over your phone by simply calling it.

It is done by installing a spyware through the WhatsApp voice call. It’s is Zero Day vulnerability of which there was no solution when it happened. In the GDPR age we are not sure of the fact as to how many days the company took to make it public, which means allowing its users to remain at risk even after knowing of it. WhatsApp users number 1.5 billion. The capability of this spyware is all comprehensive trawling through phones all data/calls, it can also activate phone’s camera and microphone and perform other malicious activities.

The plot gets thicker with The Financial Times identifying Israel’s NSO group as the hacker, the very same company whose technology has earlier been linked to the murder of Saudi Journalist and dissident Jamal Khashoggi. Citizen Lab calls it a “very scary vulnerability.”* What’sApp spokesman says, the attack had ”all the hallmarks of a private company that has been known to work with the governments to deliver spyware that has the capability to take over mobile phone operating systems.”

This is just an indication of the complexity of cyber crime, where a state recognised company is getting into such acts, if its conclusively proved. Created for legal interception, presumably to be sold under Govt licence / permission, NSO’s spyware has been repeatedly deployed to hack journalists, lawyers, human rights defenders and dissidents. A global complex challenge is on the cards, global effective collaboration is the answer.


Sanjay Sahay

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