Phone list is linked to spyware from Israel
An Israeli firm accused of supplying spyware to governments has been linked to a list of tens of thousands of smartphone numbers, including those of activists, journalists, business executives and politicians around the world, according to reports.
The NSO Group and its Pegasus malware – capable of switching on a phone's camera or microphone, and harvesting its data – have been in the headlines since 2016, when researchers accused it of helping spy on a dissident in the United Arab Emirates.
Sunday's revelations – part of a collaborative investigation by The Washington Post, The Guardian, Le Monde and other media outlets – raise privacy concerns and reveal the far-reaching extent to which the private firm's software could be misused.
The leak consists of more than 50,000 smartphone numbers believed to have been identified as connected to people of interest by NSO clients since 2016, the news organizations said, although it was unclear how many devices were actually targeted or surveilled.
NSO has labeled the allegations "false."
The Post said a forensic analysis of 37 of the smartphones on the list showed there had been "attempted and successful" hacks of the devices, including those of two women close to Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered in 2018 by a Saudi hit squad.