Boris Johnson, Catalan Politicians Latest Victims of NSO Group’s Pegasus Spyware

by | Apr 19, 2022

Boris Johnson, Catalan Politicians Latest Victims of NSO Group’s Pegasus Spyware

by | Apr 19, 2022

Pegasus spyware, made by the Israeli firm NSO Group, was used to spy on Boris Johnson’s office and the Catalan independence movement

The NSO Group was founded in 2010 and developed Pegasus a year later. The spyware has the ability to infect a device without the user even clicking on a link. Thus far, murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Palestinian human rights groups, and the US State Department were identified as having their phones breached by Pegasus. The US sanctioned NSO Group last year over the proliferation of its cyber warfare product. 

Citizen Lab – a Canadian research group – has been responsible for identifying several of the phones that were targeted. The New Yorker reports Citizen Lab identified 60 phones of Catalan politicians and leaders that had been targeted. 

Catalonia is a region of Spain seeking independence. In 2017, a referendum was held and over 90% of people vote to separate from Madrid, despite the Spanish police that seized ballot boxes and physically assaulted voters. Since the independence referendum, the Catalan political leadership has been arrested or targeted with extradition.

In addition to Catalan separatists, the office of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the UK Foreign Ministry were targets of Pegasus. It’s unclear what data was taken, although Citizen Lab does believe data was exfiltrated, or what country targeted the UK government.

About Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone is news editor of the Libertarian Institute, assistant editor of Antiwar.com and co-host of Conflicts of Interest with Will Porter.

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