WhatsApp spyware creator NSO Group could be under US scanner again: Report
The US Department of Justice has reportedly asked WhatsApp to provide details of the users that were targeted by the spyware creator's software, even as the investigation into the company continues.
Israel’s NSO Group, one of the most powerful spyware and surveillance software creators in the world, could be back under the US Department of Justice’s scanner months after the investigation against it had slowed down under former President Donald Trump, according to a new report.
According to a news report by The Guardian citing sources aware of the development, the US Department of Justice has requested Facebook-owned WhatsApp Messenger to provide details of the 1400 users that were targeted by the Pegasus software created by the NSO Group used allegedly used by various state actors two years ago.
Readers may recall that in 2019, it was reported that several reporters, activists, lawyers and government officials were targeted by the spyware from the NSO Group. Once infected by the dangerous exploits, there was no way to uninstall it and the only thing that victims could do was replace their cellphones, even after the security flaw was fixed. Journalists in India were also targeted in the attacks that used NSO Group’s spyware.
Infecting users was as simple as sending a message with a specially crafted message containing a malicious media attachment that would infect the target’s phone as soon as it was received. Some were also affected simply by receiving a missed call on the app, and the spyware was also capable of hiding its tracks so users only found out they were targeted when WhatsApp informed them via a verified message.
WhatsApp later patched the issue in an update, then filed a civil lawsuit against NGO Group in the United States, but the company has claimed that it should not be implicated in the lawsuit as the spyware was not used by them to target the victims who were affected. However, human rights groups and other US companies including Microsoft and Google have also joined in the fight against NSO Group - the report suggests that a US court is set to decide whether the spyware maker should be granted immunity in the case filed by WhatsApp against it