Claims of spying on politicians, journalists, businessmen in India through Pegasus spyware


As The Wire and other publications reported on Sunday, phone numbers of Indian ministers, opposition leaders and journalists have been found on the database of hacking targets, which used the Israeli spyware ‘Pegasus’ – which is used only by governments available for. The report states that members of the legal community, businessmen, government officials, scientists, activists and others are also on this list of more than 300 verified Indian mobile telephone numbers.

The Wire The number of people in the database includes more than 40 journalists, three prominent opposition figures, a constitutional authority, two serving ministers in the Narendra Modi government, current and former heads and officials of security organizations, and several businessmen, according to the report. The publication said that it would also publish the names of these persons in the coming days. The website said that one of the phone numbers on the list was registered in the name of a sitting Supreme Court judge. It is yet to be confirmed whether the judge was still using this number or not.

The Wire’s data analysis It shows that most of the names were targeted for the 2019 Lok Sabha General Elections between 2018 and 2019, but at that time there could not be strong evidence that all the numbers were hacked. The Israeli company that sold Pegasus, NSO Group, denied the allegations. He claimed it only provided its spyware to “investigated governments” and said it was “considering a defamation lawsuit”.

The Indian government, however, denied involvement in the hacking, saying “the allegations of government surveillance on specific individuals have no solid basis or facts attached to it.” As The Wire reported, pointing to an earlier Right to Information (RTI) reply, it said “there has been no unauthorized interception by government agencies” but categorically denied the purchase or use of Pegasus spyware. did not do.

According to The Wire, forensic tests conducted on some phones linked to the target numbers clearly indicated targeting by Pegasus spyware. The espionage report is based on a leaked database accessed by Paris-based media non-profit Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International that was shared with several publications around the world for a collaborative investigation.

The Wire reported that most of the numbers identified in the list were geographically concentrated in 10 country groups: India, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Morocco, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

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