#hacking | No Israeli govt role in alleged hack: Zeev Elkin, Israel Security Minister

Jerusalem: The Israeli government on Friday denied any involvement in an alleged cyberhack by Israel’s NSO Group. Distancing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government from the alleged attempts to send malware to the mobile devices of a number of Whatsapp users, Israeli security cabinet minister Zeev Elkin said that if anyone had done anything “forbidden” they could expect to find themselves in court.

“NSO is a private player using capabilities that Israelis have, thousands of people are in the cyber field, but there is no Israeli government involvement here, everyone understands that, this is not about the state of Israel,” Elkin told 102.FM Tel Aviv Radio. Senior government officials in many US-allied countries were targeted earlier this year with hacking software that used WhatsApp to take over users’ phones, according to people familiar with the messaging company’s investigation. NSO has denied the allegations “in the strongest possible terms,” saying it would fight ‘vigorously.’

Elkin said, “I don’t see any political fallout from this incident. It is true that when people do things that are forbidden – I have no way of determining whether they did indeed do anything forbidden – then the justice system here and in other countries will throw the book at them.”

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