Leaks uncovers global abuse of cyber-surveillance weapon

Leaks have uncovered the global abuse of cyber-surveillance weapons.

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Leaks have uncovered the global abuse of cyber-surveillance weapons.

Human rights activists, journalists, and lawyers across the world have been targeted by authoritarian governments using hacking software sold by the Israeli surveillance company NSO Group, according to an investigation into a massive data leak. Pegasus is malware that infects iPhones and Android devices to enable operators of the tool to extract messages, photos, and emails, record calls, and secretly activate microphones.

The leak contains a list of more than 50,000 phone numbers that, it is believed, have been identified as those of people of interest by clients of NSO since 2016.

Forensics has told that the cyber operations have been taken place in the target countries. The list also contains the numbers of close family members of one country’s ruler, suggesting the ruler may have instructed their intelligence agencies to explore the possibility of monitoring their relatives.

NSO said that even if Pineda’s phone had been targeted, it did not mean data collected from his phone contributed in any way to his death, stressing governments could have discovered his location by other means. He was among at least 25 Mexican journalists selected as candidates for surveillance over two years.