The federal government has issued directives to the provincial governments to ban the use of WhatsApp and other similar social networking apps for concern of cyber attacks by foreign intelligence agencies according to a report by The News.
The National Telecom and Information Technology Security Board, Cabinet Division, Government of Pakistan, issued a letter that was titled Ban on use of WhatsApp and likewise means for sharing of official letter and Information.
The letter reads:
It has been reported that hostile intelligence agencies have developed technical capabilities and means to gain access to sensitive information stored in mobile phones of officials of government departments, institutions, and ministers in the country,
These spyware companies are using hacking softwares and applications such as Chat Line and Pegasus malware on WhatsApp account of target mobile phones (IOS and Android) to gain access to sensitive information stored on mobile phones. The malware is capable to infect any mobile phone (IOS and Android) only by generating missed call on target WhatsApp number,
This Pegasus malware has infected approximately 1400 senior government and military officials in twenty countries including Pakistan. Hostile spyware companies such as Israel-based NSO Group have been sued by WhatsApp and Facebook in the US Court of San Francisco for violating both US and California laws as well as the WhatsApp Terms of Service,
Apart from this advisory, government officials holding sensitive positions were given further instructions to take precautions to minimize the risk of infection by Pegasus malware.
The letter advised the following in this regard:
No official and classified information be shared on WhatsApp or similar application being highly insecure. WhatsApp be upgraded to latest version on IOS and Android. All mobile phones purchased prior to May10, 2019 be immediately replaced,