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17 Jan 2022

The Guardian

Investigation finds NSO Group spyware used against female human rights defenders in Bahrain and Jordan; incl. co. comments

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"Two female activists in Bahrain and Jordan hacked with NSO spyware" 17 January 2022

The plight of women’s rights campaigners in Bahrain and Jordan is in the spotlight after new revelations that two prominent female activists were hacked multiple times by countries using NSO Group spyware.

An investigation by the human rights group Front Line Defenders (FLD) and...Access Now found that the mobile phones of Ebtisam al-Saegh, a Bahraini human rights defender, and Hala Ahed Deeb, who works with human rights and feminist groups in Jordan, had been hacked using NSO’s Pegasus spyware.

Both women said the discoveries, which were confirmed by security researchers at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, felt like life-changing violations of their privacy, underscoring how such attacks against women were “particularly grievous”...

According to Citizen Lab’s analysis, al-Saegh’s mobile device was found to have been hacked at least eight times between August and November 2019 using NSO spyware. It followed various incidents in which al-Saegh, who works for Salam for Democracy and Human Rights, was harassed by Bahraini authorities...

NSO has said that its software is licensed to be used by client countries against suspected terrorists and other serious criminals, and that it investigates credible allegations of abuse by its clients.

A spokesperson for NSO said: “We cannot directly comment on a report we haven’t seen, nor investigate based on names received in a press inquiry”...