Pegasus spyware found on nine US diplomatic phones

Daniel Sims

Posts: 238   +12
Staff
What just happened? This week Reuters reported that hackers used the controversial Pegasus spyware from the NSO group to breach nine US State Department employees' iPhones. It isn't known yet who is responsible, but this represents the most critical known cyberattack involving US officials and Pegasus.

Reuters' sources indicated that US officials, either based in Uganda or working on issues concerning Uganda, received warnings from Apple that their iPhones were being targeted with spyware from Israel-based NSO over the last several months.

The spyware uses a zero-click exploit to access an iPhone's texts, photos, and videos to spy on a target. It can even turn on the phone's microphone. It works by sending a compromised message to the target through iMessage and doesn't require the victim to do anything to become infected.

The NSO group says it doesn't directly conduct surveillance operations. Instead, it sells its technology to law enforcement and intelligence agencies. In a statement this week, NSO said it canceled access to the tools for the relevant customers and would investigate based on Reuters' report. The group promised that if the investigation found that the customer in question used Pegasus against US officials, they would be banned permanently, and NSO would take legal action.

The company claims Pegasus doesn't work on American phones with numbers that start with national code +1, but the US officials' phones in question used foreign numbers.

Apple issued an emergency patch to close the vulnerability used by Pegasus in September. Last month it filed a federal case against NSO group, seeking to claim damages and stop NSO from using any Apple products and services in the future.

Permalink to story.

 

Goamist

Posts: 27   +43
Wikipedia says: "The Pegasus spyware is classified as a weapon by Israel and any export of the technology must be approved by the government." - and they thought (only) China is the enemy :D
 

netman

Posts: 701   +274
"The NSO group says it doesn't directly conduct surveillance operations. Instead, it sells its technology to law enforcement and intelligence agencies."____ Absolute Lie...!
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,479   +7,317
Israel needs to reconsider allowing this company to continue or consider the damage it does to its reputation when tooks like that are used against an ally .....
 
So, the State Department under Tony Blinker is incompetent, and using unsecured phones, and no doubt this didn't happen just in Uganda. The next Benghazi will happen under his watch, if you don't consider Afghanistan, one already. If anyone thinks the Israeli company is the only one doing this they need to go back and read news articles from the last twenty years. The French were doing it to foreign business people who were in their country, it was before smart phones, so they did it the old fashioned way, entering hotel rooms and going through belongings, The Chinese have, and are still doing that, along with bugging rooms, hidden cameras, gaining access to phone, laptop, when entering country at security screening. Russia, Cuba, N.Korea, all do it, and the good old USA, listening to Angela Merkel on her phone.
 

Bullwinkle M

Posts: 624   +500
nobody can hack your iphone, because you use Android..
I use both, but without Internet access

All I need is a phone!

No wi-fi, no cellular data, no Apple account, no Google account

Just a phone!

If you steal my personal data, it means you hacked the phone Company, not the phone