Following WhatsApp hacking attempts, Indian government plans big move

Following revelations that a spyware tapped into WhatsApp’s security systems, India is now planning to do an audit of the Facebook-owned messaging platform. India’s minister for technology revealed on Thursday that the Indian Computer Emergency Team (CERT-In) “sought submission of information from WhatsApp on November 9, 2019, including a need to conduct an audit and inspection of WhatsApp’s security systems and processes,”. This was said on the floor of the Parliament by Ravi Shankar Prasad.

Last month, WhatsApp sued Israeli surveillance firm NSO Group and even accused it of helping clients break into the phones of roughly 1,400 users spread across four continents. The targets were diplomats, political dissidents, journalists, as well as different military and government officials.

As per Reuters, out of all the alleged users affected by NSO’s Pegasus spyware, 121 are based in India, which is also WhatsApp’s biggest market with over 400 million users.

Here it needs to be mentioned that WhatsApp has already responded to CERT’s queries but now, further clarifications have been asked for as per minister Prasad. He also added that the agency had asked NSO Group to provide information about the malware and its impact on Indian users.

WhatsApp executives that included CEO Will Cathcart did not take up the issue of the spyware when they met the technology ministry officials in July and September, as per the minister.

After the developments came to light, journalists and lawyers whose phones were hacked via WhatsApp have already asked the government to make public its ties with the Israeli firm which was accused of deploying the spyware.

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