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WhatsApp hack: Wary of being affected, Govt seeks details on users vulnerability

Soon after Facebook-owned messaging app confirmed of select users had become victims of spyware that permitted attackers to snoop on users, the users of messaging apps, including several governments, have been wary of them being vulnerable to a similar attack.

The Indian government, one among them, has sought details from WhatsApp on the recent spyware hack as it plans to issue advisory to its officials, who mainly use the messaging app.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has written to Facebook-owned app and asked about action taken after hacking incident by WhatsApp, as per an ET report.

On last Tuesday,  the Financial Times first revealed in a report that a spyware bug could easily access anyone’s phone camera, microphone, messages and log keystrokes making WhatsApp end-to-end encryption useless. The malware can work on most of the operating systems including Apple’s iOS, Android and Micro.

Soon after the reports, WhatsApp and the National Cyber Security Centre, the cyber arm of GCHQ, warned WhatsApp users about the vulnerability and urged them to update their apps.

WhatsApp is one of the most popular apps in India. It is reported to have around 300 million users in the country.

The messaging app has been in the spotlight over its use for spreading misinformation, that led to lynching incidents in the country, and influencing voters through software tools supported run campaigns. The govt has in over last six months asked WhatsApp to address users concern around privacy and curb misinformation.

Last month, WhatsApp made an announcement to introduce new privacy settings that will force people to seek consent from users before adding them to chat groups. The setting is currently in the beta stage in India.

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