After previously uncovering a similar case targeting a human rights defender, cybersecurity experts at Citizen Lab today announced that Americans have recently been targeted by Pegasus. The spyware has already been pinned down in multiple similar cases in recent months; it is sold against several hundred thousand dollars to governments or the police to track just about anyone.
To date, the publisher of the program (NSO Group) however prohibits targeting mobiles in the United States. The company is indeed based in Israel and does not wish to tarnish its relations with the Biden administration. To remedy this, the attackers would however have gone through a third-party app, Candiru. In addition, the developers behind this discovery also mention the case of the strategy called “off center targeting“, which consists in poking the devices of relatives in the event that that of the initial target is not accessible.
To this file are added more than sixty cases identified in Catalonia. Among them, we find activists but also students and people working in NGOs. At the highest level again, it is the presidents of the region who are concerned. Here, we are not only talking about Carles Puigdemont but also Joaquim Torra – who replaced him between 2018 and 2020 – and the current number one; Father Aragones.
The main suspect? For Citizen Lab, the doubts are slim: it is most likely theSpain. The country has been trying to contain Barcelona’s independence for several years now, as best they can.
The icing on the cake, 10 Downing Street has also seen some of its teams’ iPhones hacked. It is The New Yorker who reports these facts, explaining that the motive of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson is part of the list. The potentially exfiltrated data remains unknown, but the person responsible could be hiding from the United Arab Emirates.
Finally, an analysis also showed that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office was targeted five times between July 2020 and June 2021. Here, it is always the UAE that is singled out, alongside India and Cyprus.