Whatsapp: Indians among those 'targeted' by spyware


Earlier on Thursday, reports revealed that several members of the civil society in India may have been the targets of surveillance through a spyware, Pegasus, purportedly developed by an Israeli cyber intelligence firm NSO Group. However, there are certain measures you could take to protect yourself. It also generally allows attackers full access to messages sent or received, even in encrypted messaging apps or emails, and could conceivably be used to obtain access to any number of confidential or privileged case documents stored on the lawyers' computers.

The revelation comes as more than a dozen Indian journalists and human rights activists said on Thursday they were also targeted. The Facebook-owned software giant alleges that NSO Group built and sold a hacking platform that exploited a flaw in WhatsApp-owned servers to help clients hack into the cellphones of at least 1,400 users between April 29, 2019, and May 10, 2019.

As first reported by Firstpost, the smartphone of Nagpur-based lawyer Nihalsing Rathod (GLC Mumbai LLB), who is part of the senior counsel Colin Gonsalves-founded Human Rights Law Network, was hacked by the advanced NSO-created Pegasus malware. Click on it, whether it be on an iOS or Android phone, and the software gains full control over the targeted device, monitoring all messaging, contacts and calendars, and possibly even turning on microphones and cameras for surveillance purposes. Our technology is not designed or licensed for use against human rights activists and journalists. "This technology is rooted in the protection of human rights - including the right to life, security and bodily integrity - and that's why we have sought alignment with the U.N. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, to make sure our products are respecting all fundamental human rights". "In May we quickly resolved a security issue and notified relevant Indian and global government authorities", an organization spokesperson stated in an announcement.

"Citizen Lab a" along with organizations such as R3D, Privacy International, EFF, and Amnesty International a" has intently tracked how NSO Group's surveillance expertise has been turned towards political dissidents, legal professionals, journalists, and human rights defenders.

NSO Group, which also goes by the name Q Cyber Technologies, is an Israel-based company which develops and sells spyware technology. The company has declined to comment on the identities of NSO Group's clients, who ultimately chose the targets.

Information about the surveillance practices of governments and other powerful actors have only come through leaks, the most famous of them was from Edward Snowden on the US's Prism programme.

'To monitor a target, a Pegasus operator uses multiple vectors and tactics including zero-day exploits and deception, to penetrate security features in popular operating systems and silently install Pegasus without the user's knowledge or permission, ' according to Citizen Lab.

John Scott-Railton, a senior researcher at Citizen Lab, mentioned it used to be now not unsightly that foreign officials may perchance well be centered as correctly.

The Citizen Lab provided another case study in October 2018 in which it identified a Saudi Arabian citizen who has escaped to Canada and is now a student there.

The usage of Pegasus spyware by powerful agents to spy on Indian activists was not a surprise to numerous country's human rights defenders and members of civil society.