Israeli ‘spyware’ invasion forces govt to discard WhatsApp

Published November 28, 2019
The federal Ministry of Information Technology has issued a confidential letter to the authorities concerned, advising them not to use WhatsApp for official correspondence since an Israeli spyware stealthily installed on the software was being used to monitor users’ activities, sensitive data and movements. — AFP/File
The federal Ministry of Information Technology has issued a confidential letter to the authorities concerned, advising them not to use WhatsApp for official correspondence since an Israeli spyware stealthily installed on the software was being used to monitor users’ activities, sensitive data and movements. — AFP/File

RAWALPINDI: The federal Ministry of Information Technology has issued a confidential letter to the authorities concerned, advising them not to use WhatsApp for official correspondence since an Israeli spyware stealthily installed on the software was being used to monitor users’ activities, sensitive data and movements.

“Hostile intelligence” agencies can try to gain access to sensitive information stored or communicated through mobile phones, the letter warned.

Pegasus, the spyware, has sent a wave of concerns around the globe as it has already infected mobile devices of millions of WhatsApp users since April. WhatsApp has acknowledged the cyber attack and initiated a lawsuit against the Israeli maker of the software.

According to experts, Pakistani mobile users could be in double jeopardy as the Indian government is also reportedly using the spyware to steal mobile data. Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi has even accused the Modi government of working with Israeli spy agencies to snoop into the phones of journalists, lawyers, activists and politicians.

Recently, an Israeli company was sued by Whatsapp/Facebook in the US court of San Francisco for violating both US and California laws as well as the WhatsApp terms of service.

Pegasus was employed recently by 1,400 senior government and military officials in 20 countries, including Pakistan. The software is capable of infecting any mobile phone only by generating a missed call on target WhatsApp number.

The ministry said that in order to minimise the possibility of any infection by Pegasus malware, government officials holding sensitive portfolios and dealing with national security matters should not share any classified information on WhatsApp or any similar application.

The ministry also advised the government officials to discard all mobile phones purchased before May 10 this year.

Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2019

Opinion

Diverging paths
Updated 15 Apr 2021

Diverging paths

It seems that Imran Khan is feeling the pain of the adjustment that he has had to undertake.
Judging the judges
15 Apr 2021

Judging the judges

In the end, like Joan of Arc, they were made to pay with their blood.
People to people
Updated 15 Apr 2021

People to people

By facilitating access, the governments of India and Pakistan can start to build trust and understanding between the two publics.
Hostage to extremism
Updated 14 Apr 2021

Hostage to extremism

Once again, the TLP has succeeded in bringing the administration to its knees.

Editorial

Afghanistan exit
Updated 15 Apr 2021

Afghanistan exit

Afghanistan has suffered for decades as powerful local players have refused to compromise and have insisted on hogging power.
15 Apr 2021

New census

EARLIER this week, the Council of Common Interests approved the controversial National Population and Housing ...
15 Apr 2021

With no place to go

No matter where one looks, one can’t escape the heartrending sight of scores of children of all ages begging, ...
TLP protests
Updated 14 Apr 2021

TLP protests

For the good of the country, and its image as a nation where extremism has no place, such groups must be strictly reined in.
14 Apr 2021

PPP’s formal exit

THE PPP’s formal resignation from all offices of the PDM comes as no surprise after weeks of tension and public...
14 Apr 2021

Natanz attack

AS the P5+1 and Iran try to breathe life back into the JCPOA, as the nuclear deal is officially known, it appears...