The Guardian reported on Thursday that an Israeli spyware was allegedly used to target at least 24 Pakistani government officials this year.
The technology that was used to target Pakistani officials is owned by NSO group, an Israeli spyware company, the report said.
One of the British newspapers quoted sources as saying that “scores of Pakistani senior defense and intelligence officials” were among those who could have been compromised.
According to the reports, the hackers may have exploited vulnerability in WhatsApp that allowed them to access messages and other data on phones.
The parent company of WhatsApp, Facebook, had filed a lawsuit against NSO in October. According to the Guardian, the breach was first discovered in May, 2019.
Pakistani officials have not commented on the suspected breach publicly yet, however, the government is trying to develop a local messaging application to protect its official data from hackers.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister’s focal person Dr. Arsalan Khalid on digital media, had told Arab News that the authorities were trying to improve cyber security by developing a WhatsApp-like application especially 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.