JERUSALEM (reuters) – The Israeli government on Friday denied any involvement in the alleged cyber – hacking by the Israeli surveillance firm NSO Group.
FILE PHOTO: The-WhatsApp, the messaging application is displayed on a display screen of the phone by the 3rd of August 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White/File Photo
Away, Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government and the alleged attempts to send malware to mobile devices that have a number of Whatsapp users, the Israeli security minister, Zeev Elkin, said that if someone had done something “forbidden” that they could expect to find themselves in the court of law.
“NSO is a private player with the help of the options that the israelis have thousands and thousands of people in the cyber field, but there’s no one in the Israeli government, with the involvement of a lot of people understand that it is not the state of Israel,” Elkin told the 102.FM Tel Aviv Radio station.
On Tuesday, WhatsApp will be charged with NSO Group, accusing it of helping the government spies to break into the phones of approximately 1,400 users across four continents, in a hacking spree, in which the targets included diplomats, political dissidents, journalists, and senior government officials.
The Facebook-owned property, the software giant claims that the NSO Group was built and sold by the hack of a platform that can be exploited by a vulnerability in the WhatsApp-owned servers to help clients break into the mobile phones of at least 1,400 users from 29 April 2019, 10 May 2019.
On Thursday, Reuters reported that officials in many U.S.-allied countries, it was targeted earlier this year by hacking the software, which is used WhatsApp messenger to take over users ‘ phones, according to people familiar with the messaging of your company in the study.
NSO has also denied the allegations “in the strongest possible terms,” saying it would will fight them “vigorously.”
WhatsApp is being used by 1.5 billion people every month, and it has often been touted to have a high level of security including end-to-end encrypted messages that cannot be decrypted by WhatsApp or any other third party.
In a radio interview, Elkin said, “I don’t see any political fallout from this incident.”
He added: “It is true that when people are doing things that are forbidden — I have no way to determine whether or not they are, indeed, doing what is prohibited – then that is the justice system here and in other countries will throw the book at them.
Reporting by Dan Williams; Writing by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Stephen Farrell and Angus MacSwan