Media reports said that French President Emmanuel Macron It was Unita Among a number of world leaders, they are believed to have been targeted by hacking their phones using software spy.
The program, known as “Pegasus”, targets phones and allows its operators to spy on their targets through them.
These leaders are among a list of about 50,000 phone numbers of people believed to be of interest to clients of the Israel-based NSO Group. This list was leaked to the major media.
NSO denies any wrongdoing. It says the program is “intended for use against criminals and terrorists”.
It adds that it is only available to the military, law enforcement and intelligence agencies with good human rights records.
The Israel-based company said the original investigation that led to the reports – by Paris-based NGO Forbidden Stories and human rights organization Amnesty International – was “full of false assumptions and unsubstantiated theories”.
These reports are part of a series of news articles indicating that thousands of prominent personalities have been targeted.
The French newspaper Le Monde published a report that Macron’s phone had been subjected to a “potential” surveillance operation in favor of Morocco.
The newspaper said in its report that the Moroccan intelligence services identified a phone that Macron had been using since 2017.
Morocco denied being a client of the Israeli company Pegasus.
Having someone on the list does not mean that the program was used against them, but that it was a potential target.
It is not clear whether the program was actually installed on the French president’s phone.
Reports also say that the numbers in the leaked list include phones of Iraqi President Barham Salih and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, as well as the current prime ministers of Pakistan, Egypt, Morocco and the Moroccan king.
The list includes more than 600 government officials and politicians from 34 countries.
The French presidency said that if the leaks were true, they would be very dangerous.
Analysis by Gordon Corera, Security Correspondent In the BBC
Foreign leaders are always a prime target for spies – intercepting their communications means exposing their intentions and secrets.
Politicians and officials know that they are frequently targeted, but when this is made public, it can have real repercussions.
Especially since those involved in such acts are not always just enemies of the country.
In 2013, it emerged that the US National Security Agency had been eavesdropping on dozens of world leaders — including the mobile phone of ally German Chancellor Angela Merkel, causing severe embarrassment and a rather major diplomatic row.
Notable in recent reports is that the possibility of conducting surveillance against foreign leaders is now up for sale and available to a much wider range of countries.
It is not yet clear how many of those on this list are actually targeted, but even the mere possibility will raise a lot of pressure on NSO and governments that may have been involved in targeting other leaders.
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