The Israeli firm whose spyware hacked WhatsApp has told customers its technology can suddenly scrap all the information of an individual from Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft servers.
Spy organizations and governments have used NSO Group’s flagship smartphone malware, nicknamed Pegasus, for years to harvest information from specific smartphones of people.
But it has now evolved to capture the much larger trove of information stored in the cloud beyond the phone, such as a full history of the location data of a target, archived messages or photos, according to people who shared documents with the Financial Times and described a recent demonstration of the product.
The papers raise challenging questions for the technology giants of Silicon Valley, who are trusted by billions of customers to safeguard critical private data, corporate secrets and medical records from future hackers.
NSO rejected the promotion of cloud services hacking or mass monitoring instruments. However, it did not specifically deny that the capacity outlined in the papers had been created.
NSO Group claims it has a client screening method and sells only for enabling terrorism or criminal investigations to accountable governments.
WhatsApp said a messenger service flaw in May could allow NSO Group software to be downloaded to computers via a straightforward phone call and monitor calls made via the service. The application owned by Facebook has set up a patch to solve the issue.
The firm has always retained that its software, designated as a weapon by Israel, is sold only to accountable governments in order to help avoid terrorist attacks and crimes. But Pegasus was traced to the phones of human rights activists and reporters around the globe by scientists, raising accusations that repressive regimes are abusing him.
The fresh method is said to copy from an infected phone, among others, the authentication keys of services like Google Drive, Facebook Messenger and iCloud, enabling a distinct server to impersonate the phone, including its place.