NSO Group

Phones of five French ministers found to be infected by Pegasus spyware

France — Investigation

The mobile phones of five French government ministers were targeted by the Pegasus spyware sold to states worldwide by Israeli surveillance technology firm NSO Group, Mediapart can reveal. The presence of “markers” left by the spyware were discovered by an official French probe involving technical analyses of the devices. The development follows on revelations, first published in July, which found evidence that the surveillance tool was notably employed by NSO clients around the globe to target journalists, including two from Mediapart, politicians and regime opponents. Fabrice Arfi and Ellen Salvi report.

Emmanuel Macron ‘pushes for Israeli inquiry’ into NSO spyware concerns

International — Link

French president reportedly spoke to Israeli premier Naftali Bennett to ensure ‘proper investigation’ after Pegasus project.

Abdellatif Hammouchi: Morocco's spy chief at the heart of the Pegasus affair

International — Analysis

The Pegasus scandal has helped throw a spotlight on the repressive regime in Morocco, which is accused of using the Israeli-made spyware to target the phones of thousands of people, including politicians and journalists in France. In particular it has focused attention on the North African kingdom's top cop and spy chief Abdellatif Hammouchi and his role in the affair. As Mediapart reports, this key figure in the Moroccan state apparatus is feared in many Western capitals, including Paris.

Pegasus Affair: Morocco sues Amnesty and Forbidden Stories for defamation

France — Link

The legal action follows revelations that its intelligence services used the Pegasus mobile phone spyware against dozens of French journalists. 

How Morocco spied on Mediapart journalists using Pegasus spyware

France

Mediapart has started legal action after revelations that two of our journalists had their phone hacked with the Pegasus spyware by the Moroccan secret services. The software, made by Israeli firm NSO Group, was sold to government clients around the world and was supposedly to be used only to “fight serious crime and terrorism”. But a date leak and investigations by various media around the world show that some countries drew up lists of telephone numbers that could be targeted with the spyware – and these lists include many journalists. Among them are Mediapart's co-founder and publishing editor Edwy Plenel and reporter Lénaïg Bredoux.  Analysis has shown their phones were infected with the spyware by Moroccan agents in 2019 and 2020. Mediapart has filed a formal complaint with the state prosecutor in Paris, which has now opened a criminal investigation. Meanwhile it has also emerged that French president Emmanuel Macron's phone was targeted with the spyware by Morocco in 2019. 

French staff among 180 journalists identified by spyware firm clients

International — Link

Data leak and forensics suggest NSO’s surveillance tool Pegasus was used against journalists at some of world’s top media companies. Mediapart was among those organisations targeted.