The Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, said it had obtained a confirmed list of all the victims targeted by the Israeli-made Pegasus spyware.
The newspaper stated that the list of confirmed victims of the program includes individuals from several countries, including journalists, media professionals, human rights defenders, lawyers, activists, political figures, and even Mexican drug lords.
Last year, it was reported that international intelligence services had bought the Israeli Pegasus program and used it against opponents.
Pegasus is used to hack targets’ phones to eavesdrop on them, monitor emails, take pictures, and record conversations.
The Pegasus program is manufactured by the Israeli company “NSO”, which was founded in 2010 and is headquartered in Tel Aviv.
In early November, the US Department of Commerce included the “NSO” company in the blacklist after the Pegasus scandal.
The list published by Haaretz newspaper included 178 people, revealing the identities of many of them, while referring only to other employers.
Haaretz said that the targets were from many countries, including: Azerbaijan, El Salvador, France, Hungary, India, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Morocco, the West Bank (occupied Palestine), Poland, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Britain, and Mexico.
Of those whose phones were targeted, 34 crew members of the Qatari Al-Jazeera channel (whose names were not mentioned), and 3 Palestinian activists working for international organizations in the West Bank.
The list also included 24 French journalists, whom it said were unknown, as well as 11 US officials in Uganda, whose identities were also not revealed.
She said that there are more than 450 cases of suspected targeting, but this list, which was developed with the help of Amnesty International’s security laboratory, includes only those whose targeting has been confirmed.
“The Israeli-made Pegasus spyware sold by NSO has become notorious in recent years,” Haaretz said.
She indicated that the spyware allowed the Israeli company’s customers to exploit unknown vulnerabilities in the “WhatsApp” applications, “iMessage” and the “Android” operating system, and target any smartphone and have full access to it in some cases, without the owner clicking on a file or opening it. .
“So far, targets have been found all over the world, from India and Uganda to Mexico and the (occupied Palestinian) West Bank, with high-profile victims including US officials and a New York Times journalist,” Haaretz added.
She pointed out that the “NSO” group, which refuses to confirm the identity of its customers and claims that it does not know their targets, has denied most of these cases and says that digital forensic analysis cannot fully identify its software.
“The gap between the massive list of potential targets and those who have actually been targeted highlights how difficult it is to confirm the presence of Pegasus spyware on phones,” the newspaper said.
And last July, the British Guardian newspaper published the results of an investigation conducted by 17 media organizations, that the Pegasus spy program had spread widely in the world and was used for bad purposes.