UK base newspaper Guardian reported that Israeli spyware was allegedly targeted mobile phones of at least two dozen Pakistani government officials earlier this year.
The technology that was used to target Pakistani officials is owned by the Israeli spyware company NSO group written in report.
The newspaper quoted sources as saying that “scores of Pakistani senior defence and intelligence officials” were among those who could have been compromised.
The report said that hackers may have exploited vulnerability in WhatsApp that allowed them to access messages and data on phones.
According to the Guardian, WhatsApp had filed a lawsuit against NSO in October. The violation was first discovered in May, 2019.
Pakistani officials have not publicly commented on the suspected violation. However, the government is trying to develop a local messaging application to protect its official data from hackers.
Prime Minister’s focal person on digital media Dr. Arslan Khalid had told media that the authorities were trying to improve cyber security by developing a WhatsApp like application for government officials.
He further said “This local application will help us protect sensitive government data and other classified information from hostile spy agencies and hackers”.
Pakistan’s ministry of information technology has also reportedly advised government officials to stop sharing confidential information over WhatsApp and replace smartphones that were purchased before May 2019.