Israeli spy targets Pakistani officials’ cellphones, report

ISLAMABAD: Earlier this year an Israeli owned spyware company were allegedly targetting the cellphones of at least two dozen Pakistani government officials, reported on Thursday.
According to the reports, the technology that was used to target Pakistani officials is owned by the Israeli spyware company NSO group.  The British newspaper quoted sources as saying that “scores of Pakistani senior defense and intelligence officials” were among those who could have been compromised.

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The report said that hackers may have exploited a vulnerability in WhatsApp that allowed them to access messages and data on phones.
Facebook, the parent company of WhatsApp, had filed a lawsuit against NSO in October. The breach was first discovered in May 2019, according to the Guardian.
Pakistani officials have not publicly commented on the suspected breach. However, the government is trying to develop a local messaging application to protect its official data from hackers.

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Dr. Arslan Khalid, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s focal person on digital media, had told media reporters in November that the authorities were trying to improve cybersecurity by developing a WhatsApp-like application for government officials.
“This local application will help us protect sensitive government data and other classified information from hostile spy agencies and hackers,” he was quoted as saying.
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