Pegasus from NSO Group – Emmanuel Macron was the target of “the most powerful wiretapping weapon” in the world

Published

On Sunday, a merger of various media made public that journalists, top politicians and diplomats were potentially victims of wiretapping software. It is now clear: French President Emmanuel Macron could also be such a victim.

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Emmanuel Macron was among the more than 10,000 numbers that appeared on the NSO Group’s potential watch list.

AFP

What if the camera on the cell phone suddenly goes on unnoticed?

What if the camera on the cell phone suddenly goes on unnoticed?

Unsplash

This happened to those affected by the so-called Pegasus spyware.

This happened to those affected by the so-called Pegasus spyware.

Unsplash

  • The Pegasus eavesdropping software provides access to chats, contacts, emails, photos and much more.

  • Emmanuel Macron is also on the list of people who have been potentially monitored.

  • The operators and developers assert that Pegasus is only used to monitor terrorists.

In the course of the revelations about the Pegasus spying software, French President Emmanuel Macron also appeared as a potential target on a leaked list. One of Macron’s numbers was discovered on Tuesday, Laurent Richard, head of the Forbidden Stories organization behind the revelations, said. According to the “Zeit”, it is still used by Macron today.

However, it is unclear whether the president’s mobile phone was actually hacked. The «Guardian» and the “Time” both write that a Moroccan customer had commissioned Emmanuel Macron to be monitored. The NSO Group, which operates the Pegasus software, denies that.

Telephone numbers of 14 heads of state

Other members of the French cabinet are also affected. According to the research, the list is the numbers of potential spying targets that were preselected by customers of the Israeli espionage company NSO Group.

According to the Süddeutscher Zeitung, telephone numbers of 14 heads of state and government who could have been spied on were found on the list, including Lebanon’s ex-Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Moroccan Prime Minister Saad-Eddine El Othmani and Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Hackers have more rights than phone owners

An international media research group from ten countries reported on Sunday that hundreds of journalists, activists and opposition activists around the world were apparently the victims of extensive wiretapping. Intelligence services and police authorities in several countries are said to have misused the Pegasus spyware software offered by the Israeli company NSO to tap into the mobile phones of those affected.

Pegasus is considered to be the most powerful bugging weapon of all. “If, for example, an iPhone is hacked with Pegasus, the attackers are given so-called root rights. They can do more with it than the owner of the device, ”explains Claudio Guarnieri from the Amnesty International Security Lab, who was involved in the research, in the Guardian.

Several thousand euros for eavesdropping

This means that after the hack, the Pegasus developers will have access to chats, contacts, call lists, calendars, emails, internet history – everything. The NSO Group charges several thousand euros for eavesdropping on a single device.

The NSO Group asserts that the Pegasus software is only used to monitor terrorists. Nevertheless, the list leaked to the media includes telephone numbers of 14 current or former heads of state – including that of Emmanuel Macron.

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(AFP, her)

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