An Israeli spyware that can be used to monitor the whereabouts of people from all walks of life has been exposed by a number of media, causing an uproar in the international community. Despite multiple investigations, the company still denies this.
According to a report by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) on the 19th, the Israeli software monitoring company NSO has sold a mobile phone spy software called “Pegasus” to some countries to monitor journalists, lawyers, human rights activists and even relevant politicians of various countries. According to the report, the “Pegasus” software can easily invade Apple and Android systems, and easily intercept all kinds of messages, pictures, videos, email content, call records, and even secretly turn on the microphone for real-time recording. The report also said that NSO’s “Pegasus” software “may be the most powerful spyware at present.”
The “Pegasus” software will initially send a malicious link to the user, and the user will “success” as long as he clicks it. However, according to experts from the investigation department, this “Pegasus” software has now been upgraded-without phishing URLs, it can still carry out various targeted espionage activities on the target, and its “comprehensive capabilities” for tracking, monitoring and spying infiltration. , It’s creepy.
According to the report, in the beginning, the non-governmental organization Taboo Stories and Amnesty International launched an investigation into the “Pegasus” software, and then they cooperated with 17 internationally renowned media organizations such as The Guardian and The Washington Post. The preliminary results of the investigation were released on Japan. The results show that there are about 50,000 phone numbers on the list potentially monitored by the “Pegasus” software. These numbers involve politicians, media professionals, and social activists in some countries. Of these, about 15,000 numbers are from Mexico, and other numbers. The customers also include Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Hungary, India, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Morocco, Rwanda, Togo, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Although some of the phone numbers on the list were not named, the reporter was able to identify more than 1,000 people in the 50 countries on the list, including several members of the Arab royal family, at least 65 business executives, 85 well-known human rights activists, and “Financial Times” and other 189 media reporters, more than 600 politicians and government officials, and even several heads of state and prime ministers.
Israel’s NSO company issued a statement retorting that the “Pegasus” software is specifically used to fight criminals and terrorists. They will only sell the “Pegasus” software to those military, law enforcement and intelligence agencies with good human rights records. The NSO alleged reports were “full of false assumptions and unproven theories.” The statement denounced the media’s findings of “exaggeration” and “lack of factual basis”, and seriously questioned the reliability and authenticity of these sources of information. The statement emphasized that NSO’s customers include 60 intelligence, military, and law enforcement agencies in more than 40 countries, but the statement refused to disclose the names of specific countries and agencies.
What’s interesting is that some countries reacted differently to the incident, which is intriguing. Morocco stated that it has nothing to do with NSO. Rwanda accused this of defamation and denied the use of NSO related software. The Hungarian government stated that it did not pay attention to these data collections, but emphasized that some domestic institutions are indeed authorized to use secret instruments, but they are regularly regulated by the government and non-governmental organizations. The Indian government also denies that it is related to the “Pegasus” software, and has repeatedly emphasized that there is no unauthorized interception by government departments. The government has always had a mechanism to intercept communications. The central government and state governments will supervise in accordance with national interests. . The Indian government also criticized the report as “seriously inaccurate.”
According to Israeli media, Israeli intelligence agencies have been closely monitoring the NSO. Whenever NSO sells the “Pegasus” software to other countries, it must obtain prior approval from the relevant Israeli authorities. Founded in 2011, NSO has been accused of facilitating authoritarian regimes. However, NSO has always emphasized that the “Pegasus” software is designed to collect intelligence for combating criminal networks and terrorism, and can be used legally and reasonably. However, data consulted by international media and partners show that terrorism and organized crime account for only a small portion of its customers’ uses. It is reported that in 2019, the communications software WhatsApp sued NSO, accusing about 1,400 phones of cyberattacks, and the culprit was the “Pegasus” software. NSO denied this, but its company has been banned from using WhatsApp.
Some media in the Middle East said that since 2016, Israel’s NSO company and its famous “Pegasus” software have become famous. At that time, experts accused the software of being used to monitor a dissident in the UAE. The media broke the news that, in fact, in Morocco, Azerbaijan, Rwanda and other countries, the “Pegasus” software targets journalists, lawyers, opposition groups, and human rights defenders. The violations of human rights in these countries are all done through the “Pegasus” software. NSO is even regarded as “soft power” by Israel. While providing this soft power carrier to some foreign governments, it also helped the Israeli government restore diplomatic relations with some countries. The BBC said that the accusation against NSO is not the first time, but the scale involved this time is larger and it is expected that more important people will be exposed.