Pegasus Project – Spyware used to target journalist, activists and others

The Pegasus Project was a large-scale investigation into the leak of 50,000 phone numbers of possible spying targets, which indicated NSO Group’s malware was being exploited.


According to an investigation into the data breach linked to the Israeli spyware vendor, “authoritarian” countries are infiltrating mobile devices belonging to human rights activists, political dissidents, lawyers, journalists, and politicians using NSO Group’s Pegasus software.


Pegasus is a remote access spyware tool that can harvest handset information, collect conversations across apps like as WhatsApp and Facebook, monitor email clients and browsing activity, record calls, and spy on victims via their microphone and camera.


The NSO Group, established in Israel, sells its products to governments as a way to detect and prevent local and worldwide risks, as well as a way to combat criminal and terrorist activity.


However, according to reports released by the non-profit Forbidden Stories, Amnesty International, and a number of news organizations, the software is being used to spy on innocent people.


According to The Guardian, a leaked list of phone numbers obtained by Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International revealed over 50,000 numbers believed to be “of interest” to NSO Group clients and “selected for targeting” since 2016.


Despite the fact that the presence of a phone number does not necessarily imply that a smartphone has been infiltrated, the consortium’s investigation, entitled the Pegasus project, claims that infection has been confirmed in dozens of cases.


According to the project, NSO Group claims that its Pegasus software is solely intended to assist legitimate law enforcement agencies in their pursuit of criminals and terrorists, and that any other usage would be in violation of the company’s policies and user agreements.


The Pegasus Project discovered numbers on the leaked list that belonged to suspected criminals.


However, at least 188 journalists were among the over 1,000 numbers whose owners were identified.


Human rights activists, diplomats, politicians, and government officials were among the many others.


There were at least ten heads of state on the list.


The Israeli corporation responded by calling the project’s claims wrong assumptions and unconfirmed speculations.


The NSO Group has stated that these charges are so ludicrous and untrue that they are considering filing a defamation case.


The data used to back up the Pegasus project’s claims, according to the company, is based on accessible and overt fundamental information gathered from services such as HLR Lookups and is unrelated to Pegasus or any other NSO product customers’ targets.


These services are freely accessible to anybody, everywhere, and at any time, and are widely used by government organizations and private businesses around the world.


Only verified governments, law enforcement, and intelligence agencies are sold the company’s products, according to the company.


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