Pakistani intelligence agencies discovered a major security breach, and Indian hackers targeted the phones and other accessories of government officials and military personnel.
According to a statement by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the cyber-attack by Indian intelligence agencies involved “a range of cyber crimes including deceitful fabrication by hacking personal mobiles and technical gadgets”.
“Various targets of hostile intelligence agencies are being investigated,” said the military’s media wing.
“Pakistan Army has further enhanced necessary measures to thwart such activities including action against violators of standing operating procedures (SOPs) on cybersecurity,” added the statement.
It also said that consultations are being sent to all government departments so that they can identify security vulnerabilities and strengthen cyber security measures.
Senior officials recommend to stop using WhatsApp
In March of this year, the federal government issued a directive prohibiting the use of social networking applications to provincial governments on the grounds of threats of cyberattacks from foreign intelligence agencies.
A letter issued by the National Telecommunications and Information Technology Security Commission, titled “Prohibition of the use of WhatsApp, and means of sharing official letters and information”, reads as follows: Sensitive information stored in the mobile phones of government departments, agencies and ministers of 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,” the letter continued.
“This ‘Pegasus’ malware has infected approximately 1,400 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,” it added.
Furthermore, senior government officials holding sensitive portfolios and dealing with national security matters were said to have been advised to avoid sharing information on WhatsApp and upgrade the application to the latest version.
“All mobile phones purchased prior to May 10, 2019, must be immediately replaced,” the government had directed at the time.