A list of more than 50,000 phone numbers and a subsequent investigation led to a consortium of 17 members news organizations to believe that Pegasus NSO Group spy software was used for attempted or successful execution hacks on phones journalists, human rights activists and more.
Investigation called “Project Pegasus” i published Washington Post on Sunday, the list begins. Tens of thousands of numbers were mostly from a group of 10 countries known to spy on their citizens, such as Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Hungary, India, Mexico and Saudi Arabia, and they also confirmed were clients of the NSO Group, an Israeli security firm whose customers include dozens of intelligence, military and law enforcement agencies.
Although the numbers on the list do not include the name, the consortium was able to identify more than 1,000 people, including 189 journalists and more than 600 politicians and government officials, in more than 50 countries. international amnesty and the French non-profit journalistic organization Forbidden Stories had access to the list and he shared with a consortium of news organizations including Le Monde, Die Zeit, Guardian and PBS Frontline, among others.
A forensic analysis Amnesty International of 37 smartphones with numbers the list found that many showed a “strong correlation” between the time stamp associated with the number and the start of surveillance, according to the Post.
Victims who have been successfully hacked and among whom the edition has been identified are Hatice Cengiz, fiancée of postal writer Jamal Khashoggi, who was brutally killed by Saudi Arabian operatives in 2018. Cengiz’s phone was hacked in days after Khashoggi’s assassination in Turkey. Another victim was a top Azerbaijani journalist Khadija Ismayilova, who was hacked several times from March 2019 to this May. Siddharth Varadarajan, co-founder of Wire, an independent media outlet in India, was also comfortingly targeted, the investigation found.
Ismayilova revealed that she stopped communicating with people because the services she spoke to were harassed.
“You don’t trust anyone and then you try not to have long-term plans with your own life because you don’t want any person to have problems because of you,” Ismayilova said.
Overall, Amnesty analyzed 67 smartphones suspected of being attacked. It was found that 23 were successfully infected with Pegasus, and 14 showed signs of hacking attempts. Amnesty has failed to reach a conclusion regarding the remaining 30 phones, according to the Post. In a few cases this was due to the fact that the phone was replaced.
It is not difficult for Pegasus to infect phones, which is honestly frightening. To target the phone, someone sends the victim a link that tricks him into clicking and activating spyware. Pegasus can also be activated without any clicks. The hacked phone can be used to record from the camera and microphone of the device, as well as to collect location data, call logs and contacts.
The NSO Group strongly denied the allegations in the investigation, calling many of them “unsubstantiated theories” that raise serious doubts about the reliability of the consortium’s sources and the basis for its story. The Guardian reported edited summary a statement issued by the NSO Group and its lawyers in response to the Pegasus project on Sunday.
An Israeli security firm said the consortium’s requirements were based on a misleading interpretation of leaked data from “available and open basic information”.
“The NSO Group has good reason to believe that this list of ‘thousands of telephone numbers’ is not a list of numbers targeted by governments using Pegasus, but may be part of a larger list of numbers that the NSO Group may have used for other purposes,” said Thomas Clare. lawyer of the NSO Group, in the story Post.
The company also denied that its technology was in any way linked to Khashoggi’s death and said it had already investigated the case. He claimed that his technology helped prevent terrorist attacks, violence against weapons, car explosions and suicide bombings.
“Simply put, the NSO Group is on a rescue mission, and the company will faithfully carry out this mission without hindrance, despite any and all continuous attempts to discredit it on a false basis,” it is stated.
We will allow you all to be the judge of that. You can read the complete, detailed investigation at Washington Post.