What do the latest Pegasus spyware leaks tell us?


incoming reports guard, Washington postand 15 other media outlets rely on leaks of tens of thousands of phone numbers that appear to have been targeted by Pegasus. While the devices associated with the numbers on the list were not necessarily infected with spyware, broadcasters were able to use the data to detect targeting of journalists and activists in many countries.and in some cases successfully hacked.

The leaks show the extent of what cybersecurity reporters and experts have been saying for years: While NSO Group claims its spyware is designed to target criminals and terrorists, its real applications are much broader. (The company released a statement in response to the investigation, denying that their data has been leaked and that any of the reports that have surfaced are true.)

My colleague Patrick Howell O’Neill has been against the NSO Group for some time, saying “the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the targeting of scientists and campaigners pushing for political reform in Mexico, and the government surveillance of Spanish Catalan separatist politicians” Wrote in August 2020. In the past, the NSO has denied these accusations, but has argued more broadly that it cannot be held accountable if governments misuse the technology it sells.

The company’s core argument at the time was one that was “common among gun manufacturers.” That is: “The company is the creator of a technology used by governments, but does not attack anyone, therefore cannot be held responsible.”


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