An investigation by 17 media organizations that was published on Sunday has revealed that India was among a number of countries that used software sold by the Israeli surveillance company ‘NSO Group’ to hack the smartphones of human rights activists, lawyers, and journalists all over the world.
The investigation disclosed that the NSO’s hacking spyware, Pegasus, had been used to spy on more than 50,000 phone numbers of individuals who had been identified as people of interest by the NSO Group’s clients since 2016.
Among the numbers hacked by the Israeli spyware, two of the numbers registered to, or once known to have been used by, Prime minister Imran Khan were also targetted. Reportedly the software was used to hack the premier’s phone numbers during the tenure of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
According to the report, 300 phone numbers of ministers, opposition politicians, journalists, scientists, and human rights activists in India were on the list. The numbers of over 40 Indian journalists from known publications, including the Hindustan Times, The Hindu, and the Indian Express, were also on it.
Pakistan’s Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Fawad Chaudhry, reacted to these revelations, stating that he was “extremely concerned” by the reports.
“Unethical policies of Modi government have dangerously polarised India and the region,” he tweeted.
Meanwhile, the Minister for Human Rights, Shireen Mazari, revealed that “part two” of the report that reveals how the Government of India had spied on its own ministers and journalists is expected today.
The Pegasus malware has been in the news since it came to light in 2016 that it was being used to spy on dissidents in the United Arab Emirates.
The NSO Group insists that the malware is only intended for use against criminals and terrorists but the revelations have led to concerns about privacy and how the software is being misused by the group’s clients.
Via: The Guardian