The social networking firm is taking strict actions on platforms that violate the privacy that it has maintained so far. WhatsApp offers end-to-end encryption to protect messages of individuals users. The messages are only visible to users that are exchanging messages with each other. The end-to-end encryption means that even WhatsApp doesn’t have access to the conversations.
NSO Group was able to break into the WhatsApp’s encryption in May this year. The surveillance group used a bug within WhatsApp to plant a malware to hack the security. All that bug had to do is drop a missed call using WhatsApp’s voice call button. The malware allowed cyber criminals to remotely control the phones. The malware also used device’s microphone and cameras to spy on individuals.
Facebook claims that NSO Group and its parent company Q Cyber Technology has violated the US Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The head of WhatsApp, Will Cathart said,
“It targeted at least 100 human rights defenders, journalists and other members of civil society across the world.” WhatsApp worked with an academic research group called Citizen Lab to identify the victims of these attacks.
NSO Group defends the use of its surveillance technology called Pegasus. In an official statement, the company said,
“Our technology is not designed or licensed for use against human rights activists and journalists. It has helped to save thousands of lives over recent years.”
The messaging platform is using this case against weakening encryption for government access. The company claims that it is better to not have any backdoors to end-to-end encrypted systems to avoid abuse of user data.