Pegasus Hack: EU Employees' Phones Affected

The Israeli spyware Pegasus is up to mischief among EU employees. The attacker has not yet been identified.

Some European Union employees have apparently been compromised by Pegasus, spyware from an Israeli company. The search for the perpetrator has so far been unsuccessful.

Pegasus has been walking among EU employees for some time

EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders informed MEP Sophie ‘t Veld in a letter dated 25. July that his iPhone may have been compromised with Pegasus last year. It is a tool from the Israeli surveillance company NSO Group, which sells it to government customers. The German Federal Criminal Police Office is also on this customer list.

According to a Reuters report, Reynders received the tip about the hack from Apple. An inspection of his devices and other phones by European Commission officials followed. Apple itself then filed a lawsuit against the NSO Group for violating the terms of use and service agreements.

Although a perpetrator has not yet been positively identified, the inspection of the devices has revealed some indicators promoted that indicated a hack with Pegasus. A spokeswoman for NSO Group confirmed that the company will willingly cooperate with the EU investigation.

The search for the culprit

As early as April, there were first reports of investigations into a hack on the phones of European officials. However, the European Commission firmly declined to comment at the time.

European lawmakers formed a committee earlier this year to investigate the use of surveillance software such as Pegasus in Europe. The results showed that 14 Member States of the EU had purchased technology from the NSO Group. If it turns out that an EU member state is responsible for the attacks on the phones, it would be a real scandal. In order to protect EU employees from further attacks of this kind, the European Commission called on the Israeli authorities to prevent the misuse of their products in the EU.

As early as November last year, US President Joe Biden blacklisted NSO Group to make it more difficult for the group to trade with US companies. The New York Times reported that the NSO Group was accused of knowingly supplying spyware like Pegasus to foreign governments, which maliciously targeted the phones of dissidents, human rights activists, journalists and other groups. The NSO pledged to only sell its products to “verified and legitimate” government customers.

How we already reported on this last year.

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