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‘Israeli spyware used to stalk Indian journalists, lawyers and activists’ says Whatsapp

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Whatsapp has filed a lawsuit in the US Federal court against the NSO Group and Q Cyber Technologies alleging that the company has violated US laws and Whatsapp terms of service.

In a revelation, a Whatsapp spokesperson said that around 1400 users were targeted with Pegasus. The spokesperson further added that these people include Indian journalists, academics, lawyers and human rights activists. He added that Whatsapp cannot reveal their identities and the exact number but it is not an insignificant number.

The spokesperson in a statement said that they believe this intervention targeted at least 100 members of the normal society making it an unmistakable pattern of abuse. This number can go higher as more victims come forward.

These people were under surveillance for two weeks in May 2019. Whatsapp had contacted each one of them.

In Pegasus method, in order to monitor a target, the pegasus operator just needs to convince the mobile user to click an exploit link. After this, the pegasus is automatically installed in the phone without the permission of the user. Once installed, this software can easily take passwords, messages, contacts,  calendar events, text messages, and live voice calls from popular mobile messaging apps. Through this, the operator can even turn on the phone’s camera and microphone to capture any action in the phone’s proximity.

Pegasus makers claim that they sell their products to government agencies and it has not been designed or licensed to use for such purposes.

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