Israel’s NSO Group Pegasus Spyware Targeted U.S. Embassy Staff in Africa


Israeli firm NSO Group is now charged with helping people spy on American diplomat’s The U.S. government has charged that NSO’s Pegasus spyware was used to track its embassy employees in EAST Africa, the New York Times reports.

Specifically, 11 U.S. Embassy employees working in Uganda had their iPhones hacked by the program. The American government blacklisted NSO Group a month ago on the grounds that the company’s tech is used been used by foreign governments against dissidents and to spy on the press.

The US Commerce Department has added Israeli NSO and Candiru to its list of entities for engaging in acts that are inconsistent with the US’s national security or foreign policy interests, the department said.

In response, NSO said in a statement, “We have decided to immediately terminate relevant customers’ access to the system, due to the severity of the allegations. To this point, we haven’t received any information nor the phone numbers, nor any indication that NSO’s tools were used in this case.”

“If our investigation shall show these actions indeed happened with NSO’s tools, such customer will be terminated permanently and legal actions will take place,” added the company.

The alleged victims received a notice from Apple that said, “Apple believes you are being targeted by state-sponsored attackers who are trying to remotely compromise the iPhone associated with your Apple ID.”

“These attackers are likely targeting you individually because of who you are or what you do,” added the notice. “If your device is compromised by a state-sponsored attacker, they may be able to remotely access your sensitive data, communications, or even the camera and microphone. While it’s possible this is a false alarm, please take this warning seriously.”

Tel Aviv-based Candiru, is the second-largest in Israel in its field. Founded in 2014 by Yitzhak Zack, Candiru employs 120 cyber warfare experts from the IDF’s 8200 unit. It’s annual sales turnover $30 million. It sells its services to Saudi Arabia and Mexico, among others.

In July, it was revealed two journalists and the French online investigative publication Mediapart filed complaints in response to recent allegations that Pegasus malware developed by the Israeli company NSO Group had entered the hands of dictatorial regimes. The NSO Group, a major Israeli cyber-surveillance firm, came under increased attention when an international coalition of news organizations claimed that governments employed its software to target journalists, dissidents, and opposition politicians.

While NSO Group maintains democratic states, material released to the Paris-based NGO Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International revealed it had been offered to totalitarian countries, with up to 50,000 mobile phone numbers on the target list. only meant for use Pegasus

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