WhatsApp Sue Cyber Israeli Firm

The social media giant WhatsApp has launched an unprecedented lawsuit against NSO Group, which it has accused of being behind secret attacks on over 100 human rights activists, lawyers and journalists. 

NSO Group, an Israeli surveillance company, has been accused by WhatsApp of being responsible for a series of high sophisticated cyber attacks which it claims violated American law in an “unmistakeable pattern of abuse”. 

WhatsApp claimed that the technology sold by the Israeli firm, targeted mobile phones of more than 1,400 users in 20 countries during a two week period between the end of April and beginning of May 2019. 

WhatsApp’s lawsuit, which was filed in a California Court, demanded a permanent injunction blocking NSO from attempting to access their systems and that of Facebook – the owners of WhatsApp. 

A WhatsApp spokesman said:

“This is the first time that an encrypted messaging provider is taking legal action against a private entity that has carried out this type of attack against its users. 

“In our complaint, we explain how NSO carried out this attack, including acknowledgement from an NSO employee that our steps to remediate the attack were effective. 

“There must be strong legal oversight of cyber-weapons like the one used in this attack to ensure they are not used to violate individual rights and freedoms people deserve wherever they are in the world. 

“Human rights groups have documented a disturbing trend that such tools have been used to attack journalists and human rights defenders.” 

This action taken by WhatsApp is said to be a huge positive step forward for human rights protections online and will set a precedent. 

What are your opinions on this case? Do you think it will set a precedent for future cyber attacks?