Facebook sues Israeli company over WhatsApp spyware

Facebook said it believes about 100 rights activists and journalists were targeted in the operation, which it discovered in May.

29 October 2019 | 23:46

Source: Associated Press

  • Source: Associated Press
  • Last update: 29 October 2019 | 23:46

In this April 11, 2018, file photo Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before a House Energy and Commerce hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo)

Facebook has sued the Israeli hacker-for-hire company NSO Group for allegedly targeting some 1,400 users of its encrypted messaging service WhatsApp with highly sophisticated spyware.

It appears to be the first legal action of its kind, involving a nearly totally unregulated realm.

Facebook alleges in a federal lawsuit filed in California Tuesday that NSO Group violated federal computer crime law with an exploit that took advantage of a flaw in the popular communications program allowing a smartphone to be penetrated through missed calls alone.

NSO Group has been widely condemned for selling surveillance tools to repressive governments.

Facebook said it believes about 100 rights activists and journalists were targeted in the operation, which it discovered in May.

NSO Group did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

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