Catalan Parliament Speaker's Phone Hacked via WhatsApp
The mobile phone of Speaker of the Parliament of Catalonia, Roger Torrent, was subjected to a cyber attack using spyware. As WhatsApp warned the politician, criminals used software primarily provided by governments to track criminals and dissidents.
According to The Guardian and El Pais, spyware operators exploited a previously discovered vulnerability in WhatsApp software that could potentially gain access to all data on the victim’s mobile phone, including email, text messages and photos.
According to Torren, "the alleged cyber attack on his phone" is the work of the "Spanish state." Along with Torren's phone, two other supporters of the region’s independence from the Spanish authorities were also hacked.
WhatsApp officials believe the attacks occurred over a two-week period from April to May 2019, when a total of 1.4 thousand messenger users were allegedly attacked by Pegasus spyware from the Israeli company NSO Group.
“It seems wrong that politicians are monitored in a democracy and the rule of law. It also seems immoral to me to spend huge government funds on the purchase of software that is used as a tool to persecute political dissidents, ”commented Torren.
Representatives of the National Intelligence Center of Spain said in a statement that they act “in full compliance with the legal system and with absolute respect for the applicable laws” and that the work of the agency is controlled by the Supreme Court of Spain. They did not answer questions about the alleged use of NSO Group spyware.