Based on Reuters, 9 Apple phones belonging to US State Department employees working in Uganda or on Ugandan affairs were hacked by an unknown attacker or group.
The spyware used to pry into the phones of diplomats was created by an anonymous Israeli company called NSO Group.
NS Pegasus spyware is highly likely is said to be capable of recording encrypted messages, finding and capturing photos and other information on the phones it uses to attack, and turning those infected phones into recording devices and monitor the surrounding environment.
Reuters adds that this is the response of the spyware group:
NSO Group said in a statement Thursday that it has no indication that its tools have been used but has revoked access to relevant customers and will investigate. on a Reuters investigation.
An NSO spokesperson said: “If our investigation reveals that these actions did indeed occur with NSO tools, that customer will be permanently terminated and the actions taken will be terminated. Legal will take place, information we will have. ”
[…]In a public response, NSO said its technology helps prevent terrorism and that it has installed controls to limit spying on innocent targets.
For example, NSO says its intrusion system can’t work on phones with US numbers that start with the +1 country code.
NSO also said it only sells software to customers in the intelligence community or law enforcement.
However, while NSO could argue that its software is only used by responsible parties and cannot be targeted at Americans, the US government views the company in a less optimistic way. than.
In fact, the U.S. Department of Commerce has added this group to its “List of Entities,” making it a lot harder for any American company to do business with it. At the time the NSO was added, the Department of Commerce was this to say:
NSO Group and Candiru (Israel) have been added to the Entity List based on evidence that these entities have developed and provided spyware to foreign governments that use these tools to target malicious targeting of government officials, journalists, businessmen, activists, academics and embassy staff. These tools have also enabled foreign governments to conduct transnational repression, which is the practice of authoritarian governments that target dissidents, journalists, and activists outside their borders. their sovereignty to silence dissent. Such practices threaten the rules-based international order.
So the problem got so bad that NSO, a company in Israel, supposedly a US ally, “engage in activities contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States.“
https://smartzune.com/state-department-phones-hacked-by-israeli-spyware/ Foreign Ministry’s phone hacked by Israeli spyware