Pegasus spyware: WhatsApp says hold this spyware maker accountable after huge controversy erupts

Pegasus spyware has created a huge controversy as it has allegedly been used to spy on WhatsApp users. The Facebook-owned company has reacted furiously and said, "...hold the abusers of spyware accountable”.

| Updated on: Aug 21 2022, 19:03 IST
Pegasus spyware: WhatsApp has spoken up against the dangers of spyware apps like Pegasus
Pegasus spyware: WhatsApp has spoken up against the dangers of spyware apps like Pegasus (REUTERS)
Pegasus spyware: WhatsApp has spoken up against the dangers of spyware apps like Pegasus
Pegasus spyware: WhatsApp has spoken up against the dangers of spyware apps like Pegasus (REUTERS)

WhatsApp chief Will Cathcart has come out strongly against the recent revelations about the Pegasus spyware allegedly being used to abuse the privacy of users. Pegasus spyware is a cyber surveillance weapon that was used to target activists, journalists, politicians and other citizens across the world. He said that the spyware was used to “commit horrible human rights abuses all around the world” and that it should be stopped.

WhatsApp chief tweeted his reaction after reports were published by a global media consortium that revealed the extent to which Pegasus spyware was being used to target individuals using their phones. The Facebook-owned company has been targeted by the same company's spyware before, where attackers were able to hack users devices by placing a call to a target and infecting their device.

Also read: Looking for a smartphone? Check Mobile Finder here.

Terming the revelations a “wake up call for security on the internet” Cathcart stated that the smartphone is the “primary computer” for billions of people. “Governments and companies must do everything they can to make it as secure as possible. Our security and freedom depend on it,” he stated. “That's why we continue to defend end-to-end encryption so tirelessly. To those who have proposed weakening end-to-end encryption: deliberately weakening security will have terrifying consequences for us all,” he added.

Back in 2019, WhatsApp had sued the NSO Group in a United States court, after details of how the service was used to target users was published online. On Sunday, Cathcart tweeted that “human rights defenders, tech companies and governments must work together to increase security and hold the abusers of spyware accountable,” while lauding Microsoft's blog describing its actions against another such group last week.

Cathcart stressed on the importance of raising awareness about the flaws found inside mobile operating systems that allow these bugs to persist and that the company had worked with Citizen Lab in Canada to identify over a hundred cases of abusive targeting of human rights defenders and journalists in over 20 countries. He stated that the new reports from the global group “shows that the true scale of abuse is even larger, and with terrifying national security implications,” he said.

“We need more companies, and, critically, governments, to take steps to hold NSO Group accountable. Once again, we urge a global moratorium on the use of unaccountable surveillance technology now. It's past time,” the WhatsApp chief stated, while thanking Microsoft, Google, Cisco, VMWare and the Internet Association for speaking up against giving companies like NSO Group immunity.

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First Published Date: 19 Jul, 19:40 IST
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