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Pegasus Spyware Hack, The hacking of the phones of Lénaïg Bredoux and Edwy Plenel, the two journalists from Mediapart, was earlier detected by Amnesty International’s security lab as part of the reporting by an international consortium of journalists on the targeting of 50,000 phone numbers around the world
France’s national cyber-security agency ANSSI has confirmed the presence of Pegasus spyware on the phones of two journalists from the country’s online investigative journal Mediapart, the publication reported on Thursday, making it the first corroboration of the global snooping scandal by a government agency in the world.
“The study carried out by [ANSSI] reached the same conclusions as those of Amnesty International’s Security Lab on the reality of the Pegasus infection, on its modalities, dates and duration,” Mediapart reported.
Mediapart is among 17 media organisations that are publishing the investigation that says the Israeli spyware had been used in attempted or successful hacks of smartphones using malware that enables the extraction of messages, records calls and secretly activates microphones.
According to The Wire, the Indian media outlet part of the international media consortium, phones of opposition leaders like Rahul Gandhi, Supreme Court judges, ministers and journalists were among potential targets. The controversy has fuelled abrasive attacks on the government by the opposition and brought parliament to a gridlock.
While the Indian government has been dismissive about the scandal, rejecting calls for a probe into the use of the spyware available only to governments and government agencies, the controversy has provoked much firmer action in France where President Emmanuel Macron was among potential targets.
DISCLAIMER: The NSO Group, which owns Pegasus, admits this is spyware and is used to hack phones, but says it does business only with governments and government agencies. The Israeli company says it does not corroborate the list of potential targets reported by media companies around the world.
The Indian government has said there is “no substance” to the reports of Pegasus being used by it against opposition leaders, journalists and others.