After WhatsApp accounts of 121 Indians were targeted by the Israeli spyware Pegasus, experts have warned that the introduction of WhatsApp Pay in India may put the digital banking system of country at risk.
“WhatsApp payment needs to be seen with microscopic eye, primarily because in payment you will be dealing with sensitive personal data and cyber security is going to be an essential building block component for WhatsApp to demonstrate its due diligence,” Pavan Duggal, one of the nation’s top cyber law experts, told IANS.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (Meity) has already communicated its displeasure over the way WhatsApp communicated about the compromised user accounts.
The piece of NSO Group software called Pegasus allegedly made wrongful use of WhatsApp’s video calling system by installing the spyware via missed calls to forge 1,400 users globally. The devices were compromised with just a WhatsApp video call.
In May, WhatsApp, that has over 400 million users in India, requested its 1.5 billion global users to update the app after discovering the vulnerability.
“WhatsApp’s recent operations have shown that it’s difficult for the government to get information from iit. WhatsApp is an intermediary under the Information Technology Act and is mandated to exercise due diligence under the law. But it has failed to do due diligence,” Duggal said.