Pegasus Spyware Used to Target Journalists and Activists Phones, Investigation Shows

A sweeping investigation by 17 media outlets revealed that the NSO Group’s Pegasus software was used in hacking attempts on 37 smartphones by human rights activists and journalists. The Washington Post reported. According to the Post, the phones were on a leaked list of numbers discovered by the nonprofit Hidden Stories of Parisian journalism and human rights organization Amnesty International. The numbers on the list were singled out for possible scrutiny by NSO customer countries, the report says, which markets its spyware to governments to track down would-be terrorists and criminals.

Pegasus can extract all data from a mobile device and activate the device’s microphone to covertly listen in on conversations, such as the guard notes. The list of journalists dates from 2016, the Post reports, and includes reporters from the Post, CNN, the Associated Press, Voice of America, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News, The world, the Financial times, and Al Jazeera.

In a statement emailed to: The edge on Sunday, an NSO spokesperson denied the report’s claims, saying it was “full of false assumptions and unconfirmed theories that cast serious doubts on the reliability and interests of the sources,” and pulled the sources providing the information. in doubt.

“After verifying their allegations, we strongly deny the false allegations in their report,” the statement continued. The company is considering a defamation lawsuit according to its statement, saying “these allegations are so outrageous and far from reality.”

It’s not the first time NSO’s Pegasus spyware has been accused of being part of a larger surveillance campaign. Between July and August 2020, research organization Citizen Lab discovered that 36 phones belonging to Al Jazeera journalists had been hacked with Pegasus technology, possibly by hackers working for governments in the Middle East. In 2019, WhatsApp sued NSO for using Pegasus to hack users of WhatsApp’s encrypted chat service.