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India: Journalists and human rights activists targeted, phones hacked using Israeli spyware

Author: Special Correspondent, The Hindu, Published on: 30 October 2019

"Israeli spyware used to target Indian journalists, human rights activists: WhatsApp", 31 October 2019

Facebook-owned WhatsApp...said Indian...journalists and human rights activists were among those globally spied upon by unnamed entities using an Israeli spyware Peagasus.

WhatsApp said it was suing NSO Group, an Israeli surveillance firm, that is reportedly behind the technology that helped unnamed entities' spies to hack into phones of roughly 1,400 users.

These users span across four continents and included diplomats, political dissidents, journalists and senior government officials.

However, it did not say on whose behest the phones of journalists and activists across the world were targeted...

Refusing to divulge identities or the exact number of those targeted in India, WhatsApp said it had in May stopped a highly sophisticated cyberattack that exploited its video calling system to send malware to its users. 

WhatsApp said it "believes the attack targeted at least 100 members of civil society...this number may grow higher as more victims come forward".

WhatsApp head Will Cathcart said these victims include human rights defenders, journalists and other members of the civil society across the world.

Cathcart asserted that WhatsApp was committed to the fundamental right to privacy and that it is working to stay ahead of those who seek to violate that right.

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