The Washington Post reported Friday that several US diplomats’ phones have been hacked in recent months by someone who used Pegasus spyware from the Israeli company NSO Group.
Sources quoted by Al-Asima newspaper indicated that the attacks that took place in recent months affected at least 11 US officials based in Uganda or related to the affairs of the East African country.
The announcement of these attacks, which were monitored by Apple, comes a month after the US Department of Commerce included the NSO group in a “blacklist” of activities related to electronic espionage and contrary to “national security interests”. from the United States .
The US government then stressed that the Israeli company “developed and provided electronic spyware to foreign governments” that “used these tools to attack officials, journalists, businessmen, activists, academics, and journalists.”
NSO is responsible for developing the Pegasus electronic espionage program, which an international press investigation revealed in July was used to spy on hundreds of journalists and political leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron.
In fact, the company has already been flagged on previous occasions for selling spyware to democratically-deficit countries, and in 2016 some Israeli lawmakers attempted to legally block export permits for the NSO Group.
On Friday, the US National Security Council expressed concern in a statement, saying that NSO Group’s software “poses a serious counterintelligence and security risk to US personnel.”
After being included in the US “blacklist”, the NSO administration was “appalled” by Washington’s decision and asserted that its technologies “support the national security interests” of the North American country.
In addition, the company said it would provide information about its human rights and regulatory compliance programs, which it called “the world’s toughest” and said it was “based on American values” and “already led to the termination of several contacts with government agencies.” their products.
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