The media organization ‘Forbidden Stories’, broke the news story on the Pegasus spyware scandal. It claimed that the contact details of French president Mr Emmanuel Macron were found in a leaked database. The leaked database also revealed details of 15 members of the French government. Therefore, to address this issue the French government ordered an in -depth investigation in this matter.
After the story was broken President Macron’s Office said “If the facts are true, they are clearly very serious. All light will be shed on these media revelations. Some French victims have already announced they would file complaints, and legal investigations will therefore be launched”.
While the NSO denied claims of Forbidden Stories and cleared the air that no potential or any list of people has been maintained which indicates spying on any individual. And said the reports are “full of wrong assumptions and uncorroborated theories”.
Pegasus is an Israel based company that created this spyware. It claimed that this was created to help the government track terrorism and crime, contrary what database claims. It is alleged that the application was used to spy on journalists, lawyers, government heads, human rights activists. Many countries are the victim of this Pegasus spyware application. More than 35 mobiles were sent in forensic labs for investigations. Out of which 10 were found to be Indian and prominently included names like, political advisor Prashant Kishore, investigative journalist Sushant Singh and many others.
Amnesty International issued a forensic report stating the investigation carried was found accurate and the acquired handsets have Pegasus spyware present. Assam Chief Minister Mr Himanta Biswa Sarma called the report of Amnesty International defamatory as it is defaming India’s name.
France has ordered an investigation along with countries like UAE and Israel. However, the Indian government under Mr Modi denies any possibility of use of Pegasus. It claims this is an international strategy to derail the progress of the country. This issue was raised in the parliament. Israel has now issued an inter-ministerial investigation as NSO is now globally accused of targeting journalists, politicians and heads of the countries.
There is nothing one can do to be safe from this spyware. Thus all countries are looking into this matter as an issue of cyber-safety of individuals. India still denies the claims.