By AHMAD AHMADANI
The Cabinet Division (CD) has issued an advisory alert against cyber espionage allegedly launched by Indian spy agencies trying to hack smartphones in Pakistan through WhatsApp video calls, Pakistan Today learnt on Tuesday.
An alert has been issued by the Cabinet Division’s National Telecom and Information Technology Security Board. It says that secret agencies from Mumbai have been trying to get into smartphones of Pakistani citizens using WhatsApp’s video call feature.
Smartphone users across Pakistan should pay serious attention to this issue of grave nature. Otherwise, their personal data could be at risk.
“Indian hostile agencies are attempting to hack mobiles of Pakistani users. The malware can take control of mobile and extract data and send it to a C&C (command and control) server abroad,” reads the advisory.
In order to stay protected, the advisory recommended that people must avoid clicking on the random WhatsApp video call links. If someone has already done so, it is better to reset the phone as soon as possible. Android users must only use Google Play to download apps and refrain from clicking on any of the unauthorised links.
“[A] phone [should] be reset to factory default settings to remove malware if the user has ever clicked a link to enable WhatsApp video call feature. Also, do not click or share such links in future. Keep your phone up to date including its operating system and all apps from official source. Only install WhatsApp from Google Play store. Moreover, if you receive any request or text from unknown users on WhatsApp, please do not proceed further without proper authentication,” said the advisory.
Sources aware of the development told that all government institutions have been informed about the cyber attack launched by Indian agencies. Government officials have been advised to not click on reported links. They said the government should take up this matter with the American government to resolve it by imposing a ban on these links. Strong protest should be launched by the government at international level against the Indian agencies’ interference in the lives of Pakistani citizens, they added.
It is worth mentioning here that the National Telecom and Information Technology Security Board (NTISB) and Cyber Crime Wing of the Federal Investigation Agency deal with hacking.