Spyware manufactured by the NSO Group has been used to hack droves of high-profile European politicians and activists, The New Yorker reports. Devices associated with the British Foreign Office and the office of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson are allegedly among the targeted, as well as the phones of dozens of members of the Catalan independence movement.
The magazine’s report is partially based on a recently published analysis by Citizen Lab, a digital research unit with the University of Toronto that has been at the forefront of research into the spyware industry’s shadier side.
Citizen Lab researchers told The New Yorker that mobile devices connected to the British Foreign Office were hacked with Pegasus five times between July 2020 and June 2021. A phone connected to the office of 10 Downing Street, where British Prime Minister Boris Johnson works, was reportedly hacked using the malware on July 7, 2020. British government officials confirmed to the New Yorker that the offices appeared to have been targeted, while declining to specify NSO’s involvement.
Citizen Lab researchers also told The New Yorker that the United Arab Emirates is suspected to be behind the spyware attacks on 10 Downing Street. The UAE has been accused of being involved in a number of other high-profile hacking incidents involving Pegasus spyware.
Source: Boris Johnson, Catalan Activists Hit With NSO Spyware: Report