WhatsApp has urged its 1.5 billion users to upgrade the app after the Facebook-owned platform discovered a vulnerability that allowed a spyware to be installed on users’ phones via the app’s phone call function.
The spyware was allegedly developed by the Israeli cyber intelligence company NSO Group.
The vulnerability leveraged a bug in WhatsApp’s audio call feature, facilitating the installation of spyware on the device being called whether the call was answered or not.
WhatsApp said it has fixed the vulnerability that was discovered last month.
“WhatsApp encourages people to upgrade to the latest version of our app, as well as keep their mobile operating system up to date, to protect against potential targeted exploits designed to compromise information stored on mobile devices, the company said in a statement.
The Israel-based NSO Group works for the government, looking to infect targets of investigations and gain access to various aspects of their devices.
“The attack has all the hallmarks of a private company reportedly that works with governments to deliver spyware that takes over the functions of mobile phone operating systems,” the WhatsApp statement read, without mentioning the NSO Group.