Is spyware technology helping governments hack phones?


WhatsApp has accused an Israeli spyware company of hacking 1,400 of its users, including journalists, human rights activists and diplomatic officials. As new allegations emerge, Guardian US investigations correspondent Stephanie Kirchgaessner discusses how she first discovered the story

In October 2019, the encrypted messaging app WhatsApp filed a lawsuit against a little known Israeli technology company called NSO Group. It accused the group of being responsible for a series of highly sophisticated cyber-attacks on 1,400 of its users, many of them human rights activists, journalists and diplomatic officials. It was the latest twist in a saga that the Guardian’s Stephanie Kirchgaessner had been investigating for months.

She tells Anushka Asthana that after working with researchers at the Canadian firm Citizen Lab, which tracks the use of spyware, she believes current and former clients of NSO Group include Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates.

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