Meet the shadowy security firm from Israel whose technology is at the heart of the massive WhatsApp hack
- A major security flaw in WhatsApp, a Facebook-owned messaging app used around the world, affects all 1.5 billion-plus users the Financial Times reported on Tuesday morning.
- The hack is reportedly as simple as receiving a WhatsApp phone call - even if you don't pick up the call. A record of the call can even be remotely erased, the report says.
- The WhatsApp exploit enables the sophisticated spyware "Pegasus" to be installed, a notoriously invasive software tool created bythe NSO Group, a secretive firm from Israel that reportedly bills itself as a leader in cyber warfare.=.
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A security flaw in the massively popular WhatsApp messaging platform exposes its 1.5 billion-plus users to one of the world's most malicious spyware programs, "Pegasus."
The spy software enables remote access to your phone's most private information - from text messages to call logs to location data.
Pegasus first surfaced in 2016 when it was reportedly used to spy on a human rights activist in the United Arab Emirates. In the years since, it's been linked to the death of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi, as well as the Mexican government's capture of alleged drug trafficker Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán.
The company that makes Pegasus, the NSO Group, is notoriously secretive.
The Israeli firm sells sophisticated hacking tools to governments, militaries, and intelligence agencies - and it tries to keep such a low profile it even changes its name on a regular basis.
Here's everything we know about the secretive firm behind one of the world's most effective spyware applications:
NSO Group was founded in late 2009 by serial entrepreneurs with ties to the Israeli government.
It's hard to figure out what the company actually does — but its website offers some clues.
The company's specialty is "the field of cyber warfare."
Its software is purchased by governments all over the world for millions of dollars.
NSO's 'Pegasus' spy tool transforms a variety of phones into mobile listening stations.
There's speculation that Jeff Bezos' phone was hacked using tools very similar to those created by NSO.
The WhatsApp exploit reportedly enabled NSO Group's Pegasus software to be installed on iPhone and Android smartphones through a WhatsApp phone call.
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