WhatsApp has been in the news these past few weeks, and not for a reason it would have hoped for. High ranking officials from over a dozen countries have been hacked through its platform. The app, used by over 1.5 billion people around the world, has built its reputation around the security of its software. The so-called “encryption” technology in the app has led many government and military officials to naively communicate through WhatsApp instead of other channels.
Now, state officials, journalists and activists from countries such as the USA, Mexico and Pakistan have been successfully targeted. Over a hundred politicians and high-profile journalists in India alone were targeted and the worldwide scope is yet to be confirmed. WhatsApp is now in proverbial hot water and there are fears further breaches on the platform may be uncovered.
The spyware used in the attacks is reported to have been created by the NSO Group, an Israeli firm that provides its clients with state of the art tools to catch terrorists and criminals. Their flagship product, Pegasus, is said to be extremely sophisticated and capable of breaching even secure software with relative ease. Of course, NSO denies being involved in the attacks.
No matter who’s at fault, the fact is that WhatsApp’s reputation for safe, encrypted messaging has been shaken. They’re clearly not as impregnable as they thought.
We must now ask the question: How many others have been able to pierce the platform’s defenses? Will we ever know?
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