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Controversial Group Behind Pegasus Spyware Has Huge Presence In Europe, New Report Claims

A new report published on Wednesday spoke about the controversial NSO Group from Israel which is known to be the mastermind behind notorious spyware called Pegasus.

The report detailed how the firm managed to claim global fame in several countries such as India. But little did anyone know that it has a huge stronghold in the European Union.

A lot of the allegations go against the firm misusing Pegasus and it was astonishing to learn how 22 contracts are currently in place with 12 members of the 27-country European Union.

In case you may not be aware, the famous Pegasus spyware first made heads turn when it was called out for competing against a series of products to try and infect users’ smartphones and use them for surveillance or spying purposes. Just after that, it was also able to allow operators to listen to conversations and also read applications that entailed messages that were encrypted.

This way, they had complete access to various contacts as well as files seen across the device. Meanwhile, Pegasus has also now been accused of carrying out serious spying tasks in real-time by handling users’ microphone and camera devices too.

A group of representatives was seen arising from the European Parliament Committee and conducting an inquiry into the NSO personnel. That is where the number of active contracts was put into the spotlight, as recently confirmed in a report by Ha’aretz.

When the infamous company from Israel was questioned regarding its cyber welfare activities, it was believed to mention how there are now 22 different security firms working alongside them in the EU.

Meanwhile, a number of reps from the company have repeatedly revealed in their chats that they maintain conversations with several clients hailing from the Government. This way, specific terrorists are targeted alongside those involved in major crimes.

Meanwhile, it can be said without any doubt how the committee that came to the country to carry out the investigation was beyond surprised at what was going on. It was just astonishing to see so many countries have contracts with the firm, under their nose.

On the other hand, Israel’s defense minister shed light on how the committee’s members seemed to be keener on learning about how the entire cyber warfare ordeal works.

The reps even held some meetings with employees hailing from the NSO, experts from the country, and also members of Israel’s defense ministry.

Among those who made up the lead of the committee, there was a legislator who stated his phone had been tapped into by a hacker from NSO.

In the report, we hear about how the committee had been created after Pegasus was first published last year. The entire objective was designed to bring forward more regulations for the acquisition of cyber warfare while allowing the use of software programs like Pegasus to better solve matters.

Throughout this time, knowing that Europe has its own cyber warfare deals running under authorities’ noses without them being aware is certainly an alarming affair.

These legislators were even given a new task to figure out who exactly were members of the contract and who has been involved in carrying out business dealings with the NSO firm in the past. It’s also interesting to note that recent clients taking Pegasus on board for call interception were also called out.

In some of these nations, it’s interesting to note how there are more than a single client working. And that just makes you wonder how big of a network functions inside Europe.


H/T: Haaretz

Read next: Ex-Twitter Employee Convicted Of Spying On Behalf Of Saudi Arabia

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