Pegasus takes on the State Department, who’s next?


After infecting the iPhone of a Polish prosecutor recently, an NSO Group program allegedly hacked the mobiles of nine members of the US State Department, the equivalent of our French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is Reuters which reports the information, without specifying the source but with details similar to previous cases of the kind.

The targets of this new attack would be officials working on East African issues or based in Uganda, where the executive is particularly contested by the population with a president in power for more than thirty-five years. This is not a first, since we know that governments are fond of this type of software to monitor possible dissidents or other countries.

Caution above all

NSO Group assures us: those responsible for these intrusions will be prosecuted and their user account will be deleted from the Pegasus interface, if those responsible are indeed clients. The publisher claims despite everything not to have noticed suspicious activity among its regulars, and for good reason: the links between the Biden administration and Israel, whose Defense is very close to the developer, are the whole issue of this additional incident .

To hack an iPhone, Pegasus is sometimes so discreet that the targeted Internet user does not even notice the ploy. All of its data can then be downloaded, from the most classic such as app activity statistics to the most private such as intimate photos, passwords and professional messages even if they are encrypted with an app such as Signal.

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More announcements will not be long

In reality, it is here Apple which directly alerted institutions of the danger via an e-mail sent directly to their iCloud identifier. Notifications of this type, which are now the norm as soon as Apple is suspicious, never mention Pegasus by name: the use of this spyware is therefore hypothetical at this stage. All the more so when we know that competitors know how to perform the same operations in a submarine, such as GrayShift.

However, there is good reason to believe that other similar messages will make the headlines in the coming weeks, an investigation having already revealed upstream that the number of mobile terminals affected by the virus is counted in the tens of thousands.

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