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8 Nov 2021

The Irish Times

Palestine: New investigation reveals Israeli Pegasus spyware used on Palestinian rights groups; incl. co. comments

See all tags Allegations

"Irish NGO finds spyware on phones of Palestinian activists" 8 November 2021

The controversial spyware programme Pegasus, from Israeli company NSO, has been found on the phones of six Palestinian human rights activists working for established non-governmental organisations (NGOs), a report from Irish human rights organisation Front Line Defenders (FLD) reveals.

...Forensic examination of 75 phones from three leading Palestinian organisations in mid-October disclosed traces of the NSO spyware programme Pegasus on six of their phones. NSO has said it only sells Pegasus to legitimate governments focused on countering terrorism. The Israeli government must approve each sale of Pegasus to a client.

...[FLD] found the first Pegasus-infected device after Ghassan Halaika, a field researcher for Al-Haq, suspected his phone had been compromised...

Other individuals whose phones were affected include Ubai Al-Aboudi, executive director at Bisan Center for Research and Development...and lawyer Salah Hammouri, a field researcher at Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association in Jerusalem...

In a statement issued to the Associated Press, NSO Group said that it does not identify its customers for contractual and national security reasons, is not privy to whom they hack and sells only to government agencies for use against “serious crime and terror.”