WhatsApp discovers spyware attack via voice calling
WhatsApp has urged its 1.5 billion users to upgrade the app after the Facebook-owned platform discovered a vulnerability that allowed a spyware to be installed on users' phones via the app's phone call function.
 
The spyware was allegedly developed by the Israeli cyber intelligence company NSO Group, reports the Financial Times.
 
The vulnerability leveraged a bug in WhatsApp's audio call feature, facilitating the installation of spyware on the device being called whether the call was answered or not.
 
WhatsApp said it has fixed the vulnerability that was discovered last month.
 
"WhatsApp encourages people to upgrade to the latest version of our app, as well as keep their mobile operating system up to date, to protect against potential targeted exploits designed to compromise information stored on mobile devices, the company said in a statement.
 
The Israel-based NSO Group works for the government, looking to infect targets of investigations and gain access to various aspects of their devices.
 
"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," the WhatsApp statement read, without mentioning the NSO Group.
 
NSO Group told the Financial Times: "Under no circumstances would NSO be involved in the operating or identifying of targets of its technology, which is solely operated by intelligence and law enforcement agencies".
 
"NSO would not or could not use its technology in its own right to target any person or organization," the company added.
 
NSO limits sales of its spyware called Pegasus to state intelligence agencies and others. The software has the ability to collect intimate data from a target device.
 
According to WhatsApp, it suspects a relatively small number of users were targeted.
 
"This is, as you can imagine, an extremely severe security hole, and it is difficult to fix the window during which it was open, or how many people were affected by it," reports TechCrunch.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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    Facebook auto-generates terror content: Whistleblower
    Facebook is actively creating new terror content on the website with its auto-generation feature, alleges a whistleblower who analysed over 3,000 Facebook profiles of individuals expressing affiliation with terror or hate groups.
     
    The social networking giant last year claimed that with the use of advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology and a growing team of expert human reviewers it could now block 99 per cent of the terrorist content of Islamic State (IS), Al Qaeda, and affiliated groups before it was reported by users. 
     
    The study by the anonymous whistleblower working with the US-based non-profit National Whistleblower Center showed that terror and hate speech content are proliferating on Facebook.
     
    The whistleblower found that 317 profiles out of the 3,228 surveyed contained the flag or symbol of a terrorist group in their profile images, cover photo, or featured photos on their publicly accessible profiles. 
     
    The five-month study also detailed hundreds of other individuals who had publicly and openly shared images, posts, and propaganda of the IS, Al Qaeda and other known terror groups, including media that appeared to be of their own militant activity. 
     
    Alleging that Facebook is likely breaking the law by "misleading" shareholders about terror and hate content, the whistleblower has filed a petition with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
     
    After the five-month study period ending in December 2018, the whistleblower found that terror and hate content generated by Facebook is "Liked" by thousands of Facebook users. 
     
    These Likes provide yet another means for individuals affiliated to extremist groups to network and recruit, the study said.
     
    Facebook came under increased scrutiny after the New Zealand mosque shooting in March was live streamed on the platform. 
     
    Co-founder of the social networking site Chris Hughes earlier this week stressed that it is time to break up Facebook and said the government must hold its CEO Mark Zuckerberg "accountable". 
     
    Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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    How Chinese hackers got hold of US NSA tools
    Chinese state-sponsored hackers got some of the US National Security Agency's tools and they repurposed these tools to attack allies of the US and private firms in Asia and Europe in 2016, the New York Times reported.
     
    Rather than stealing the code, the Chinese intelligence agents captured it from an NSA attack on their own computers, said the report on Monday, citing research by cybersecurity firm Symantec.
     
    The repurposed American tools were used by Chinese intelligence contractors to carry out attacks in at least five places - Belgium, Luxembourg, Vietnam, the Philippines and Hong Kong, according to the research.
     
    Scientific research organisations, educational institutions and computer networks were among the targets.
     
    Instead of naming China explicitly in its research, Symantec identified the attackers as the Buckeye group, the cybersecurity firm's own term for hackers that the US Department of Justice has identified as a Chinese Ministry of State Security contractor operating out of Guangzhou, the New York Times report said.
     
    The Buckeye attack group has been active since at least 2009, when it began mounting a string of espionage attacks, mainly against organisations based in the US, Symantec's security response attack investigation team wrote in a blog post. 
     
    Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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    COMMENTS

    Mahesh S Bhatt

    4 months ago

    China & US & all countries have Telecom/Data Networks survelliance & hack teams which pilfer dessimate sensistive information & act as if they donot know anything.Cybersurvelliance US acutually destroyed Iran's Nuclear programe by creating a virus so they create dirty/corrupt/hack/moles codes too & cure through technology again Amen Mahesh Bhatt Kirticorp.com Cyber Expert

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