WhatsApp Users' Private Messages Accessed

WhatsApp Users' Private Messages Accessed
A government agency is suspected to be responsible for hacking selected WhatsApp users' accounts.

(CCM) — An unknown but highly sophisticated security expert or government agency has successfully exploited a vulnerability in WhatsApp, enabling it to install surveillance software on an unknown number of users' mobile devices, the BBC is reporting.

Using the surveillance software, those responsible for the attacks were able to read WhatsApp messages on any compromised device, even though WhatsApp claims that its messaging system is "secure" because it uses end-to-end encryption.

The Facebook-owned messaging service has urged all of its 1.5 billion users to update their apps as soon as possible after both the iOS and Android versions of WhatApp were fixed to remove the vulnerability on Friday.

The ability to exploit the vulnerability was developed by an Israeli security company called NSO Group, the report says. The company said in a statement that "NSO's technology is licensed to authorized government agencies for the sole purpose of fighting crime and terror."

It is thought that the attacker targeted a limited number of WhatsApp users, reinforcing the idea that a government was ultimately responsible. "The attack has all the hallmarks of a private company reportedly that works with governments to deliver spyware that takes over the functions of mobile phone operating systems," WhatsApp said in a briefing document on Monday.

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