Washington: An Israeli firm is accused of linking to 50,000 phone numbers, where most of them are journalists, activists, politicians, and business executives globally, says a report on Sunday; The firm is said to be supplied spyware to the governments.
Since 2016, Israel has been known for its NGO group and Pegasus Malware, where researchers accused it as it helped a spy on a dissentient in the United Arab Emirates.
But, the reports on Israel spyware are against privacy and rights concern and is misused by the clients using the software of Israeli’s company in a global level. The media outlets said that the leaked and targeted phone numbers are recognized as ‘people of interest’ since 2016 by the NSO clients.
It is reported that the list of phone numbers was shared by Forbidden Stories, which is, Paris-based journalism non-profit, and Amnesty International.
The Post newspaper claimed that the phone numbers that were indeed surveilled and targetted still don’t have an answer.
The newspaper also said that the phone numbers are mainly, from Mexico including union representatives, politicians, government critics, and journalists. Also, the list included a Mexican freelancer and a journalist; he was murdered in front of a carwash. However, there are no traces of his phone being hacked as the journalist’s phone was not found at all.
An Indian website investigated the case and concluded that 300 of the phone numbers were from India, who were mainly from a political background such as politicians, opposition politicians, government ministers, journalists, rights activists, and also scientists. In addition to this, it is said that there are 40 journalists on the list who work for major publications such as Indian Express and The Hindu; also, two editors from The Wire are said to be on the list.
According to forensic analysis, the Post newspaper claims that 37 out of 50,000 smartphones are successfully attempted and hacked; In addition, one of the two women on the list who was close to a Saudi journalist, namely Jamal Khashoggi, was murdered by a Suadi Hit Squad in 2018.
The Guardian reports that the list contains names of journalists who work for The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Agence France-Presse, Radio Free Europe, France 24, Le Monde, Al Jazeera, the Associated Press, Bloomberg, Voice of America, Reuters, the Economist, and Mediapart.
The phone numbers on the list are anonymous, but the media outlets investigating the case were able to find more than 1000 people from nearly 50 countries. This also included a few royal families from Arab with almost 65 business executives, 189 journalists, 600 politicians, government officials, 85 human rights activists, prime ministers, cabinet ministers, and heads of state.