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Pegasus... Heads of state, government and sovereign institutions under a cyber microscope

Pegasus… Heads of state, government and sovereign institutions under a cyber microscope

An investigative investigation of a coalition of media organizations has sparked a global spying scandal targeting heads of state and government, journalists, activists and human rights activists with a malicious program for cell phones developed by an Israeli company.

The “Washington Post”, “The Guardian”, “Le Monde” and other media outlets and the NGO “Forbidden Stories” reported that the “Pegasus” program developed by the Israeli group “NSO” was used for espionage purposes.

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Since the publication of the report, information has continued successively and matters have become more complicated. After talking about targeting journalists, activists, and human rights defenders, new data erupted on Tuesday stating that state leaders, heads of government, and sovereign institutions were targeted in some countries.

In the details, the Forbidden Stories organization said that the phone numbers of French President Emmanuel Macron and members of his government are on the list of potential targets of the “Pegasus” program, which is suspected of being used by some countries to spy on influential figures.

The French newspaper “Le Monde” reported that Macron’s phone was targeted for a “possible” surveillance operation on behalf of Morocco.

The newspaper also revealed that among the numbers chosen by a Moroccan government security service that uses the “Pegasus” spy program, the numbers of Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and 14 members of the government.

According to the report, Mexican President Lopez Obrador was also targeted using the same program.

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Commenting on this, the Mexican president stated that the media report that indicated that he and his allies were the target of the “Pegasus” spyware was a “shameful” report.

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Israel: NSO spyware exported for legitimate use

And the British newspaper, “The Guardian”, indicated that “at least 50 people close to Lopez Obrador, among many others, are likely to be targeted by the former administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto, which bought the Pegasus program from the Israel-based NSO Group.”

The Washington Post also revealed that Iraqi President Barham Salih’s phone number was on a list of 50,000 numbers chosen to be spied on using the “Pegasus” program developed by the Israeli company NSO.

The US newspaper said it was not possible to determine whether the spyware had infected Saleh’s phone or whether there was any attempt to do so.

In an article published by the French newspaper “Le Monde”, it reported that Lebanese personalities were targeted by the Israeli spying program for the Saudi and UAE authorities during the years 2018 and 2019, and it includes a wide range of names, starting with President Michel Aoun, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, and a large number of ministers, journalists and ambassadors. Passing through the director of the Lebanese Public Security, Abbas Ibrahim, the head of the Central Bank, Riad Salameh, and executives from “Hezbollah”.

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For its part, the Guardian newspaper reported that the leaked database at the heart of the Pegasus program includes the mobile phone numbers of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan from 13 presidents, as well as diplomatic officials, military and senior political leaders from 34 countries.

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An investigative investigation published on Sunday revealed that “activists, journalists and politicians around the world have been targeted by spying operations with a malware program for cell phones developed by the Israeli company NSO.”

“Military-grade malware from the Israel-based NSO Group is being used to spy on journalists, human rights activists and political opponents,” the investigation reported.

The consortium of 17 news organizations says it has identified more than 1,000 individuals in 50 countries that have been selected by NSO clients since 2016 for potential surveillance, including nearly 200 journalists.

Source: RT + agencies