The scandal of the Israeli company NSO Group‘s Pegasus spy software is expanding. The spy software, according to the company intended to detect terrorists and criminals, may also have been used to crack the phones of French head of state Emmanuel Macron and former Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.
King Mohammed VI of Morocco, former Belgian head of government Charles Michel and some French ministers would also be on the list of more than 50,000 numbers on which the Pegasus spyware could be released. Pakistani President Imran Khan, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Iraqi President Barham Salih are also mentioned. The list was leaked to Amnesty International and the French NGO Forbidden Stories. Whether they actually managed to hack their phones is unknown.
Recently, it was announced that Pegasus is being abused by governments to spy on critical journalists, human rights activists and opposition members through infected smartphones, among others. For example, according to France24, Morocco would have bugged French journalists.
Journalists, human rights activists and lawyers worldwide would be hacked with NSO Group software.
Intelligence and search services and armies in 40 other countries, including Rwanda, India, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Hungary and Azerbaijan also use the software.
French prosecutors have begun a judicial investigation into Morocco’s use of the spy software.