At least 180 journalists have been potential targets of sophisticated spyware hacking in recent years. Israel’s NSO Group has licensed the software to governments to track down terrorists and criminals. But those governments, including EU member Hungary – had very different intentions. This was reported by 16 media organizations, including the British Guardian, The Washington Post, Knack and Le Soir, on the basis of a joint investigation called Project Pegasus.
Using the so-called Pegasus software from NSO Group, messages, photos and emails from third-party phones can be read. It is also said that conversations have been recorded and the microphones may have been activated remotely. The questionable regimes wanted to eavesdrop on journalists, but also lawyers and activists who use the software. The search group was presented with a list of at least 50,000 phone numbers of people that NSO Group customers have described as “important” since 2016. It is not possible to determine whether all of these individuals were actually hacked or if they had just been attempted.
The organizations searched a small portion of the phones whose number appeared on the list. 37 smartphones were found to contain traces of the Pegasus software. It is said that Project Pegasus will come up with more disclosures in the coming days.
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