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Pakistani Officials Likely Fell Victim To Global Whatsapp Hack

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Messaging company Whatsapp’s investigation has revealed that senior government officials of countries allied with the United States were targeted with hacking software earlier this year.

According to Reuters, sources privy to the Whatsapp investigation stated that the hacking software used Whatsapp to take over users’ phones. They added that a significant portion of the known victims were high-profile government and military officials from at least five countries. Most of the countries, to which these officials belonged, were US allies.

Victims are reportedly from the United States, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Mexico, Pakistan, and India.

On Tuesday, Whatsapp filed a lawsuit against Israeli hacking tool developer, the NSO Group. The company alleged that NSO Group built and sold a hacking platform that exploited a flaw in WhatsApp-owned servers to aid clients in hacking into the cellphones of at least 1,400 users.

However, the total number of users who fell victim to the hacking could be even higher.

Some Indian nationals have publicly stated that they were the targets of the attack. These include journalists, academics, lawyers and defenders of India’s Dalit community.

Cybersecurity researchers have stated that NSO’s products were employed against a wide range of targets which included protesters in countries with authoritarian governments.

Meanwhile, Citizen Lab, an independent monitoring group that worked with WhatsApp to identify the hacking targets, reported that at least 100 of the victims were civil society figures such as journalists and dissidents, not criminals.

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