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Espionage confirmed against 35 journalists and activists in El Salvador

Pegasus software was the tool used to spy on activists and journalists for more than a year.

The CitizenLab and AccessNow platforms have revealed the results of an investigation that confirms that at least 35 journalists and members of El Salvador’s civil society have been the object of espionage via Israeli-made Pegasus software.

Journalists from El Faro, GatoEncerrado, Disruptive Digital Magazine, El Mundo newspaper and Hoy newspaper, as well as members of the Cristosal organizations and the Democracia Transparencia y Justicia Foundation (DTJ), saw the privacy of their communications violated between July 2020 and November 2021, says the investigative report.

Two independent journalists and another non-governmental organization whose names are not mentioned are also among those affected.

The same report indicates that the hack has taken place when the media and organizations reveal and echo cases of corruption in the Salvadoran government.

The investigation indicates that the Pegasus software operator in El Salvador, which is called Torogoz for investigative purposes, it would have started operating from November 2019.

However, it clarifies that there is not enough evidence to conclude that the operator named Torogoz represents the Salvadoran government.

The analyzes of the devices infected by the software were reviewed by the Amnesty International Security Laboratory, Front Line Defenders, Fundación Acceso and SocialTIC.

Scott Railton, one of the authors of the investigative report, detailed on Twitter that the interventions They used to coincide with times when topics of great interest to the government were being discussed.

Railton reproached the NSO Group, which owns the software, calling its sale to El Salvador “reckless”.

Speaking to the AP agency, Sofía Medina, spokeswoman for President Nayib Bukele, said in a statement that “El Salvador is in no way associated with Pegasus and is not a client of the NSO Group.” He said the government does not have licenses to use this type of software.


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