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Citizen Lab report finds NSO Group's spyware used against activists is spreading into US, Canada, France & 43 other countries

"This powerful off-the-shelf phone-hacking tool is spreading", 18 Sep 2018

Researchers at internet watchdog Citizen Lab have found that a sophisticated piece of spyware designed to break into most commercially available smartphones is now in use in 45 countries. Pegasus, designed by Israeli security firm NSO Group, has been pitched as a so-called “lawful intercept” tool for governments with highly questionable human rights records like Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia. Now, says Citizen Lab, it’s infecting smartphones in countries like the U.S., Canada, and France... Pegasus, which is considered the most sophisticated commercial spyware to be made public, has for several years been implicated in efforts to surveil activists, journalists, and lawyers in Mexico, Panama, and many countries...Coming only a few months after Pegasus was named in an attempt to hack an Amnesty International staffer’s phone, and weeks after the New York Times reported that NSO Group was hacking journalists to impress clients, Citizen Lab’s new report describes a broader reach than previously thought... Given the chance to respond to Citizen Lab’s report prior to its release, NSO Group cofounder Shalev Hulio insisted Pegasus is “licensed to government and law enforcement agencies for the sole purpose of investigating and preventing crime and terror,” and that the business complies with “applicable export control laws.”...