Cell Phones of Indian Politicians and Journalists Hacked Using Pegasus: 10 Facts About the Report

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Telephone numbers of Indian ministers, opposition leaders and journalists were found in a database of hacking attacks using Israeli spyware “Pegasus” – available only to governments – The Wire and other publications reported tonight.

Here is your 10 point guide to this great story:

  1. Members of the legal community, business people, government officials, academics, activists and others are also on the list of over 300 verified Indian cell phone numbers, the reports said.

  2. The number of people in the database includes over 40 journalists, three key opposition figures, a constitutional authority, two incumbent government ministers Narendra Modi, current and former heads and officials of security organizations and numerous business people, The Wire reported, adding the names in the publish next days.

  3. Among the numbers is one that has been registered on behalf of an acting Supreme Court judge, the website said, adding it remains to be verified that the judge is still using the number.

  4. Analysis of the data by The Wire shows that most names were targeted by Lok Sabha between 2018 and 2019 in the run-up to the 2019 general election.

  5. The Israeli company NSO Group, which sells Pegasus, has claimed that it only offers its spyware to “verified governments”.

  6. However, the Indian government denies involvement in the hacking, saying: “The allegations about government surveillance of certain people have no concrete basis or truth.”

  7. Regarding an old response to a Right to Information (RTI) request, it said “there has been no unauthorized surveillance by government agencies,” but did not specifically decline to buy or use the Pegasus spyware, The Wire reported.

  8. According to The Wire, forensic tests performed on some phones related to the target numbers showed clear signs of targeting by Pegasus spyware – a task made easier when the device is an Apple iPhone.

  9. The report on the espionage scandal is based on a leaked database accessed by Paris-based non-profit media organization Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International and shared with a variety of publications around the world for a joint investigation.

  10. Most of the numbers identified in the list were geographically concentrated in 10 country clusters: India, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Morocco, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, The Wire reported.



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