WhatsApp Confirms Cybersecurity Breach

WhatsApp Confirms Cybersecurity Breach
The Facebook-owned messaging service is used by over 1 billion users in over 180 countries.

WhatsApp is warning of a cybersecurity breach that targeted some of its users.

A spokesperson for the Facebook-owned messaging service said it discovered a vulnerability earlier this month that allowed hackers to install malicious spyware on phones by calling users. WhatsApp says the hackers were able to install the spyware even if you didn't answer the call. WhatsApp says it "promptly fixed" the issue. Over 1 billion users in over 180 countries use the messaging app.

WhatsApp says a "select number" of people were targeted in the security breach. Amnesty International says one of its researchers was among the targets. CNN reports a London-based human rights lawyer was another target, though the breach was reportedly unsuccessful.

WhatsApp said in a statement, "The attack has all the hallmarks of a private company reportedly that works with governments to deliver spyware."

It's unclear who exactly is behind the breach, but the Financial Times reports Israeli cyber intelligence company NSO Group is suspected. NSO said in a statement to CNN that its work is "for the sole purpose of fighting crime and terror." The company says it licenses its technology to government agencies and is not involved in HOW the agencies utilize it.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.