Citing anonymous sources, Reuters reported on Thursday that at least nine workers based at the US Embassy in Uganda or specialists in the country had been targeted using NSO’s Pegasus software of unknown parties.
Another report by New York Times bringing the number of officials to 11, saying that embassy employees had received warnings from Apple that “state-sponsored attackers were attempting to remotely compromise iPhones associated with Apple IDs.” Friend”.
Pegasus is a military-grade surveillance suite that can infect an iPhone without the user’s knowledge and allow its operator to monitor everything from voice calls via location data to chat messages. encode.
A spokesperson for NSO said it would conduct an independent investigation and cooperate with any government probe, as well as “immediately terminate” access for some customers. There is no suggestion that NSO conducted or knew about the hack.
This is the first known case of US government officials being targeted by Pegasus, and will increase tensions between the US and the US. Israeli about whether the NSO has been properly monitored.
President last month Joe Biden NSO was blacklisted as “contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States”, accusing it of knowingly selling spyware to governments that used it to “target malicious targets” on journalists and dissidents.
Pegasus spyware: How does it work?
NSO is one of the brightest stars in Israel’s burgeoning cybersecurity industry and insists that it only sells its software to intelligence agencies, law enforcement or the military to fight crime and terrorism.
But a global investigation of human rights groups and 17 media outlets found evidence that Pegasus was used to target journalists, human rights activists, lawyers and opposition politicians. NSO has denied those claims.
“We have decided to immediately terminate the relevant customer’s access to the system, due to the seriousness of the allegations,” NSO said.
“Up to this point, we have not received any information, nor a phone number, nor any indication that NSO tools were used in this case…
“If our investigation shows that these actions did indeed occur with NSO tools, [any] such customer will be permanently terminated and legal action will be taken. “
The company claims that it doesn’t base its products on numbers in the US and that it has “no way of knowing” who its target audience is.
Mr. Biden has invited Israel and many other countries to the White House next week in hopes of knocking down the largely unregulated global spyware market.
While, Apple has released an emergency security patch and filed a lawsuit against NSO seeking damages for “a clear violation of U.S. federal and state law arising from an attempt to target and attack Apple and its users.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/uganda-pegasus-us-embassy-hack-b1970278.html US embassy officials in Uganda had their phones hacked with Israeli spyware, reports say