Pakistan has sought from WhatsApp the details of Pakistani government officials that were targeted earlier this year by hackers using an Israeli spyware, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority said Friday.
In a recent article, the Guardian reported that at least two dozen Pakistani government officials were targeted by hackers. The technology that was used to target Pakistani officials is owned by the Israeli spyware company NSO group, the report said.
The British 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.
In a statement, the PTA said that it had taken up the matter with the WhatsApp administration and asked them about the “remedial measures” taken to prevent such hacking attempts in future.
The PTA advised the people to update WhatsApp application in their phones. The “affected individuals” could contact the PTA to lodge a complaint, it said.
Pakistani authorities have already hinted at developing a local messaging application for its officials.
Dr. Arslan Khalid, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s focal person on digital media, had told Arab News in November that authorities were trying to improve cyber security by developing a WhatsApp-like application for government officials.
“This local application will help us protect sensitive government data and other classified information from hostile spy agencies and hackers,” he was quoted as saying.