WhatsApp is suing NSO group for spreading spyware in its server, risking the privacy of its users. (Image via CNN Indonesia)

WhatsApp sues Israel's NSO over hacking claim

American message service, WhatsApp, filed a lawsuit against an Israeli surveillance firm, NSO. The Facebook-owned message service accused NSO of helping the governments to spy by hacking phones.

NSO Group is a surveillance software developer from Israel.

In the lawsuit filed in the Federal Court of San Fransisco, WhatsApp said that NSO spread spyware to over 1,400 WhatsApp users on a hacking spree throughout 20 countries. In the lawsuit, only three countries were mentioned: Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, and Mexico.

The spyware was created to discreetly access messages and communications after they are being decrypted. All along, WhatsApp keeps the messages private by encrypting it.

NSO created many WhatsApp accounts to spread the spyware in the WhatsApp server from April to May. At least 100 targets included several important civil society members such as journalists, politicians, human rights activists, and more in an “unmistakable pattern of abuse”.

Committed to the privacy of its users, WhatsApp also said that it has been the first message service provider to take legal action over this kind of incident.

By the lawsuit, WhatsApp sought to ban NSO from using its service.

However, NSO denied the allegations and said that they will fight it. The Israeli company said that they only developed software for the governments and intelligence bureaus to fight terrorism.

Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-50230431