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

Editorial

Back to politics
Updated 29 Nov, 2022

Back to politics

PDM and PTI must realise that neither will get what they want if they keep fighting bitterly at every turn.
Election delay
29 Nov, 2022

Election delay

OF recent, leaders from the ruling PML-N have been dropping hints about a possible delay in general elections after...
Sugar woes
29 Nov, 2022

Sugar woes

IT’S that time of year again when cane growers get anxious over the delay in the commencement of the new sugar...
1971 in retrospect
Updated 28 Nov, 2022

1971 in retrospect

The point of no return came when the military launched Operation Searchlight in March 1971.
Gender-based violence
28 Nov, 2022

Gender-based violence

IT is a war without boundaries and seemingly without end. A UN report on femicide released on Nov 25, the...
Battle against dacoits
28 Nov, 2022

Battle against dacoits

THE Punjab police is clearly fighting a formidable, and so far losing, battle against the criminal gangs based in ...