The senior government and military officials have been directed by the cabinet division to replace their mobile phones purchased before 10th May 2019. This is due to the fear of data being stolen by foreign spy companies.
Secretary Cabinet issued these instructions to all the relevant Ministries and Departments for strict compliance. It is reported that hostile intelligence agencies have developed technical capabilities and means to gain access to sensitive information that is stored in the cell phones of government officials.
Hacking software/applications like “chat line” and “Pegasus” malware on WhatsApp is used by the spyware companies to target cell phones and gain access to sensitive info stored in them. This malware can infect any cellphone by generating missed calls on targeted WhatsApp numbers.
Almost 1400 senior government and military officials in 20 countries including Pakistan have been affected by Pegasus malware. Israel based NSO Group and other hostile intelligence companies are sued by WhatsApp and Facebook in the US court of San Francisco for “violating both US and California law as well as WhatsApp terms of service.”
Advisory is issued to all the government departments, ministries by NTISB, Cabinet Division in this regard. The aim is to minimize the chance of any kind of infection by Pegasus malware.
Senior government officials having sensitive portfolios and catering to national security matters have been advised not to share official or classified information on WhatsApp, update WhatsApp to the latest version and replace all the phones purchased before 10th May 2019.