Pegasus is considered the most powerful spy software in the world. If attackers manage to install malware on a smartphone, they can monitor all activities on the device, even encrypted communications. German authorities such as the Federal Criminal Police Office also use the controversial Israeli surveillance programme.
Canadian research group Citizen Lab has now revealed two separate monitoring campaigns using Pegasus, Because it reports on its website.
At least 65 Catalans spied on
In Spain, at least 65 people linked to the Catalan independence movement were said to have been attacked by spyware. Those affected are said to include members of the European Parliament, Catalan presidents, lawyers and, in some cases, their employees and family members. The spy attacks mainly occurred between 2017 and 2020.
A number of evidence indicates that the Spanish government was responsible for the widespread spyware attacks, writes Citizen Lab. In addition to attacks with Pegasus, another spy program called Candiru was used.
The Spanish government denies
However, the Spanish government denies spying illegally on Catalan pro-independence leaders. Government spokeswoman Isabel Rodriguez said on Tuesday that Spanish authorities “have absolutely nothing to hide.” However, Rodríguez did not want to reveal whether the Spanish government had entered into a contract with “NSO Group”, the manufacturer of the Pegasus spyware. According to NSO, it only sells the Trojan horse to authorities to fight crime and terrorism.
As British Prime Minister Johnson spied
The second case concerns Great Britain. According to Citizen Lab, official British government networks have been targeted with several suspected Pegasus infections over the past two years, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office. The organization said that the British government had been informed of the infection. Citizen Lab suspects that the attacks came from the United Arab Emirates.
The European Parliament is investigating the attacks
The European Parliament’s commission of inquiry into the Pegasus scandal began its work on Wednesday. The commission wants to investigate the extent to which the use of Pegasus spyware violates European law.
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