The revelation that an Israeli company illegally installed surveillance software on the mobile devices of at least 121 Indians has highlighted long-standing problems with India’s data-protection and privacy laws. The Instant messenger, WhatsApp, which is a subsidiary of Facebook, has sued the Israeli company, NSO Group, in a US court for exploiting a vulnerability in the messenger app to clandestinely install surveillance software, Pegasus, which monitors, logs, and transmits more or less all activity on the infected mobile phone. This vulnerability allowed Pegasus to be installed by simply giving a missed call on WhatsApp. Over 1,500 people are said to have been infected worldwide by Pegasus. WhatsApp claims that the intrusions occurred during April-May this year, and that it has since patched the vulnerability.
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First Published: Tue, November 05 2019. 00:27 IST