pegasus: Phones of 5 French ministers infected by Pegasus, says report – Times of India

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PARIS: The mobile phones of at least five French ministers and a diplomatic advisor to President Emmanuel Macron were infected by the Israelimade Pegasus spyware, sources said on Friday, confirming a report by the Mediapart investigative website.
French security services detected the makware while inspecting the phones, with the intrusions believed to have taken place in 2019 and 2020, according to the report from Mediapart on Friday. Pegasus, made by the Israeli firm NSO Group, can switch on a phone’s camera or mic and harvest its data, and was at the centre of a storm in July after a list of about 50,000 potential surveillance targets worldwide was leaked to media.
The media consortium behind the leak reported at the time that one of Macron’s phone numbers and those of many French ministers were on the list of potential targets. French authorities declined to comment on Friday.
The five ministers targeted are education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer, territorial cohesion minister Jacqueline Gourault, agriculture minister Julien Denormandie, housing minister Emmanuelle Wargon and overseas territories minister Sebastien Lecornu, Mediapart said.
Two French sources confirmed the veracity of the report, while asking not to be identified. “My phone is being checked out by the national IT systems security agency, but I haven’t yet heard anything about the probe so I can’t comment at this stage,” Wargon told L’Opinion on Friday.
One of her aides said “the minister does not have access to any state secrets, so we can’t really see the point of spying on her”. In July, Le Monde reported that evidence of an attempted hacking was found on the phone of the former environment minister and close Macron ally Francois de Rugy, with the attempt allegedly originating in Morocco.

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