Pegasus Was Used To Hack Into The Phones Of Indian Politicians And Journalists

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Highlights

  • On July 19 by an online news portal, the phone numbers of at least 40 Indian journalists were discovered on a leaked database of prospects for hacking that used the Israeli spyware 'Pegasus.'
  • The majority of the names were addressed between 2018 and 2019, within 2019 to check over the Lok Sabha general elections.

According to a report published on July 19 by an online news portal, the phone numbers of at least 40 Indian journalists were discovered on a leaked database of prospects for hacking that used the Israeli spyware 'Pegasus.' However, the central government, on the other hand, stated in its response that no unauthorized interception occurred and that the report is devoid of factsand it isbased on pre-conceived assumptions. The majority of the names were addressed between 2018 and 2019, within 2019 to check over the Lok Sabha general elections.

Along with an investigation by a consortium of 17 media organizations, the military-grade spyware Pegasus, licensed by an Israeli firm NSO Group, was being used to infiltrate phones belonging to journalists, human rights activists, corporate executives, and politicians. An Israeli surveillance technology firm has over 300 verified Indian mobile phone numbers, including those used by ministers, opposition leaders, journalists, the legal community, businessmen, government officials, scientists, rights activists, and others, a report published by Wire.

In forensic tests carried out as part of this investigation on a small sample of phones connected with these numbers, 37 phones, 10 of which are Indian, showed clear indicators of Pegasus spyware targeting.

Alist of phones consolidated in countries, there are over 50,000 smartphone numbers as theyare known to conduct surveillance on its citizenry and to have been clients of the NSO Group. As part of a collaborative investigation known as the 'Pegasus Project,'the Paris-based media NGO Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International acquired the hacked database of numbers and shared it with multiple news organizations.

Meanwhile, similar charges were made about the Indian government's usage of Pegasus on WhatsApp. Those reports, however, had no basis in reality and were flatly refuted by all parties, including WhatsApp, in the Indian Supreme Court. NSO saidin response to the consortium's comprehensive queries that it did not set up the spyware licensed to clients and did not provide regular access to the information. The findings of the investigation were deemed overblown and unfounded by the NSO. It further stated that it does not run the spyware that its clients have licensed and that it has no visibility into its unique intelligence activities.

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