Israeli spyware Pegasus is being used against activists, journalists and politicians around the world in a journalistic investigation conducted by 17 media outlets in 10 countries in collaboration with Amnesty International technology, it was revealed on Sunday. The news bombed human rights organizations, the media, the European Union and governments on Monday. Pegasus software in six questions.
What did the journalistic investigation reveal?
In total, more than 50,000 people have been identified as potential targets of spyware. “We think this is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Karen Gentellet, a member of Amnesty International’s Canadian delegation at Amnesty Tech, a professor and chair holder at the University of Quebec in Autouis. . Targeted activists, journalists and politicians around the world.
“This is a matter of great concern to democracy and the exercise of power. It has serious consequences for journalists and human rights defenders,” he said.To me Gentleman.
Following the outbreak of the investigation, the Israeli group NSO, which developed the Pegasus software, “strongly condemned the false allegations made.” It was “full of false assumptions and unsubstantiated theories, sources provided no factual evidence,” he wrote on his site, adding that he was considering a defamation complaint.
Morocco and Hungary on Monday condemned the use of Pegasus software. For his part, European Commission President Ursula van der Leyen suggested that if the case turned out to be true it should be “confirmed” by stating that it was “not entirely acceptable”.
In the coming days, the media contributed to the journalistic investigation Guardian, The world And The Washington Post, Publishes a series of articles describing how victims are selected as potential targets of this spyware.
What is software?
Spyware developed by the Israeli company NSO allows full access to texts, emails, Internet activity, microphones, cameras, phone calls and more on their contacts on victims’ phones. “We have known for a long time that this group is selling malware, but here, the evidence is beyond doubt,” MTo me Gentleman.
The professor said the Israel Group would sell the app to various states. The software has been used by Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Hungary, India, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Mexico, Rwanda and Togo.
Who are the victims?
The investigation identified at least 180 journalists from 20 countries identified as potential spyware targets over the past five years.
“There are 25 Mexican journalists, 40 Azerbaijani journalists, 40 Indian journalists and CNN journalists. New York Times And Editor-in-Chief Financial times It will be wired. “To me Gentleman. The family of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was assassinated in 2018 at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, has also been targeted.
How is the software installed on smartphones?
The first way to infect phones is through a malicious link sent via text message or email.
Recently, infections can also be caused by “Zero Click” attacks, which require no interaction from the phone owner.
“Software uses malicious code in some applications WhatsApp Or ITunes, Which allows the person to infect the phone without doing anything, M.To me Gentleman. The most worrying thing is that the software has infected the iPhone 11 and 12, which are the latest technologies. ”
Why is the software problematic?
“It’s really invisible and hard to spot. It took a very comprehensive technical analysis to figure this out, ”M explainsTo me Gentleman. When software infiltrates the phone through applications, it removes traces of infection.
The software allows users to know what its victims are doing and where they are doing it. “Looking at the different types of data the phone collects, it’s very inappropriate,” she says.
The effects of this gooey action are enormous. “Some have been imprisoned, threatened or murdered, and people have been seen violating their fundamental rights,” the expert explained.
What to do now?
According to Karen Gentelet, the technology should be closely monitored. “There should be a temporary ban on the development and sale of this type of surveillance technology. There should be transparent processes for everything related to technology. We are ripe to limit and control electronic mass surveillance,” she sums up.
With Agence France-Presse