Indian government Plans Security Audit On Recent WhatsApp Hack

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WhatsApp security system has been facing some issues recently. The most recent one being the spyware scam that exposed the vulnerabilities of many users. Now the Indian government wishes to conduct an audit on the Facebook-owned messaging platform. The statement by the minister for technology revealed that the government plans to audit and inspect the messaging app.

Indian government Plans Security Audit On Recent WhatsApp Hack

 

WhatsApp Hack: What Happened?

The Indian Computer Emergency Team (CERT-In) will be the main inspection body. It has "sought submission of information from WhatsApp on November 9, 2019, including a need to conduct an audit and inspection of WhatsApp's security systems and processes," said Ravi Shankar Prasad in a statement.

It all started with a surveillance firm in Israel called the NSO Group. WhatsApp has accused the Israeli company of allegedly assisting clients in breaking into smartphones of approximately 1,400 users globally. The NSO Pegasus spyware compromised smartphones belonging to diplomats, journalists, political objectors, military personnel, and government officials.

Out of the thousands affected by the WhatsApp hack, more than a hundred were based out of India, a Reuters report had previously suggested. Back then, WhatsApp had responded to the queries listed out by CERT. But now, there is a need for additional explanations, the minister said. CERT has also asked the NSO Group to report about the Pegasus spyware and how massive its impact has been on Indian users.

WhatsApp Hack: Indian Government To Audit

WhatsApp executives, including the CEO Will Cathcart, had discussions with the minister Ravi Shankar Prasad back in July and September. However, there was no mention of the spyware back then. But, the popular messaging platform had told CERT about an incident in May in which WhatsApp had spotted and fixed a "vulnerability that could enable an attacker to insert and execute code on mobile devices," the minister said.

 

On the other hand, when WhatsApp accused the NSO Group, it had denied the allegations. The company had said in a statement that it provides technology to governments to counter-terrorism. In turn, the Indian journalists and lawyers whose smartphones were exposed in the WhatsApp hack have asked the Indian government to make public its connection with the Israeli NSO Group accused of deploying the spyware.

So far, WhatsApp has declined to comment on the Indian government audit.

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