Whatsapp issuing an Israeli company that spied on politicians and journalists

WhatsApp filed a lawsuit against Israeli spy company NSO Group, accusing it of helping government spies penetrate the phones of nearly 1,400 users across four continents in a hacking wave that included diplomats; opponents; politicians; journalists; and senior government officials.

Facebook's messaging service in a lawsuit filed in the federal court in San Francisco accused NSO Group of facilitating government infiltration in 20 countries.

Whatsapp said in a statement: 100 members of civil society have been targeted, and described the process as a clear behavior in the abuse.

Israeli spy company NSO Group denied the allegations, saying in a statement: We oppose in the strongest possible terms these allegations and we will fight them strongly.

"The sole purpose of NSO Group is to provide technology to government intelligence agencies and licensed law enforcement agencies to help them fight terrorism and serious crime."

WhatsApp explained that the attack exploited its video communication system to send malware to mobile devices to a number of users.

Malware allows NSO Group customers - allegedly governments and intelligence organizations - to secretly spy on the phone owner and access their digital lives.

WhatsApp is used by about 1.5 billion people a month and often promotes a high level of security, including encrypted messages, which cannot be decrypted by the company itself or other parties.

Citizen Lab, a cybersecurity research laboratory based at the University of Toronto working with WhatsApp to investigate piracy, said the targets included well-known television personalities; prominent women exposed to hate campaigns online;

Companies like NSO Group say its technology allows officials to circumvent encryption that increasingly protects data on phones and other devices, but governments rarely talk about their capabilities publicly, meaning that digital breakthroughs such as those that have affected WhatsApp typically occur in the shadows.

He described Facebook and WhatsApp's move as unprecedented and set a precedent, as major service providers tend to move away from litigation for fear of revealing too much about their digital security.

The lawsuit seeks to prevent NSO Group from accessing or attempting to access WhatsApp and Facebook services, as well as seeking unspecified monetary damages.

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