French Intelligence Confirms That The NSO Group’s Spyware Has Been Found On The Phones Of Reporters

French intelligence investigators have confirmed that Pegasus spyware has been found on the phones of three journalists, including a senior member of staff at the country’s international television station France 24. Pegasus is the spyware that is developed, marketed and licensed to governments around the world by NSO Group. The malware has the capability to infect billions of phones running either iOS or Android operating systems. It enables operators of the spyware to extract messages, photos and emails, record calls and secretly activate microphones:

It is the first time an independent and official authority has corroborated the findings of an international investigation by the Pegasus project — a consortium of 17 media outlets, including the Guardian. Forbidden Stories, a Paris-based nonprofit media organization, and Amnesty International initially had access to a leaked list of 50,000 numbers that, it is believed, have been identified as those of people of interest by clients of Israeli firm NSO Group since 2016, and shared access with their media partners.

France’s national agency for information systems security (Anssi) identified digital traces of NSO Group’s hacking spyware on the television journalist’s phone and relayed its findings to the Paris public prosecutor’s office, which is overseeing the investigation into possible hacking. Anssi also found Pegasus on telephones belonging to Lenaig Bredoux, an investigative journalist at the French investigative website Mediapart, and the site’s director, Edwy Plenel. Forbidden Stories believes at least 180 journalists worldwide may have been selected as people of interest in advance of possible surveillance by government clients of NSO.

Le Monde reported that the France 24 journalist, based in Paris, had been selected for “eventually putting under surveillance.” Police experts discovered the spyware had been used to target the journalist’s phone three times: in May 2019, September 2020 and January 2021, the paper said. Bredoux told the Guardian that investigators had found traces of Pegasus spyware on both her and Plenel’s mobile phones. She said the confirmation of long-held suspicions that they had been targeted contradicted the repeated denials of those who were believed to be behind the attempt to spy on them.

The evidence keeps mounting that The NSO Group’s spyware is out there being used for any and all purposes. Which contradicts The NSO Group’s claim that if you’re not a bad guy you have nothing to worry about. That’s completely unacceptable and needs to be addressed by going after not only The NSO Group, but those who use this spyware.

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