Facebook has sued Israeli hacker company NSO Group for allegedly infecting 1,400 WhatsApp users with highly sophisticated spyware.
Mark Zuckerberg’s company claimed that NSO Group violated several laws, including the U.S. Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, with an ingenious ruse to take advantage of an instant messaging application’s failure that allows a smartphone to be accessed simply through missed calls.
In this way, Facebook has recognized one of the biggest security issues discovered in the service’s history: “They targeted at least 100 human rights defenders, journalists and other members of civil society around the world,” WhatsApp director Will Cathart wrote in The Washington Post.
In addition, the company reported on Wednesday that it has withdrawn dozens of accounts, pages and groups linked to Russia for being involved in behaviors that promote false news and manipulate users of social networks.
“Although the people behind these networks seek to hide their identities and the way they are coordinated, our research has found a connection between campaigns and entities associated with Russian businessman Yevgeniy Prigozhin,” Facebook said in a statement.
The company would have removed a total of 66 accounts, 83 pages, 11 groups and 12 accounts from Instagram targeting Madagascar, Central African Republic, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Sudan and Libya.