By Washington Post. Private Israeli spy software was used to hack dozens of smartphones that belonged to reporters, human rights activists, business executives and the fiancee of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to a sweeping investigation by the Washington Post and 16 other news organizations.
The military-grade spyware was reportedly licensed by the Israeli spyware firm NSO Group. The investigation discovered that the hacked phones were on a list of more than 50,000 numbers based in countries known to surveil people.
The list of numbers were shared with the Post and other media organizations by Paris-based journalism nonprofit Hidden Stories and human rights group Amnesty International.
NSO Group denied the findings of the report in several statements, arguing that investigation includes “uncorroborated theories” based on “misleading interpretation of leaked data from accessible and overt basic information.” (Read more from “Investigation: Israeli Spyware Was Used to Target Phones of Journalists and Activists” HERE)
Israeli-Made Spyware Used to Monitor Journalists and Activists Worldwide
By OCCRP. In Hungary, Szabolcs Panyi exposed spy intrigue and murky arms deals. In India, Paranjoy Guha Thakurta probed the ties between business and political interests. In Azerbaijan, Sevinj Vaqifqizi caught vote-rigging on tape.
Separated by thousands of miles, these journalists have one thing in common: their governments considered them a threat.
All three were among dozens of journalists and activists around the world whose smartphones were infected by Pegasus: spyware made by Israeli firm NSO Group that is able to secretly steal personal data, read conversations, and switch on microphones and cameras at will.
The attacks were revealed by The Pegasus Project, an international collaboration of more than 80 journalists from 17 media organizations, including OCCRP, and coordinated by Forbidden Stories.
The phones of Panyi, Thakurta, and Vaqifqizi were analyzed by Amnesty International’s Security Lab and found to be infected after their numbers appeared on a list of over 50,000 numbers that were allegedly selected for targeting by governments using NSO software. Reporters were able to identify the owners of hundreds of those numbers, and Amnesty conducted forensic analysis on as many of their phones as possible, confirming infection in dozens of cases. The reporting was backed up with interviews, documents, and other materials. (Read more from “Israeli-Made Spyware Used to Monitor Journalists and Activists Worldwide” HERE)
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