Spying of journalists, activists using Pegasus spyware software in many countries including India: Report

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A consortium of 17 media organizations around the world has claimed that governments around the world are spying on journalists and activists. According to the report published on Sunday, governments in many countries including India spied on about 180 journalists, human rights activists and activists. For this, the hacking software Pegasus of the Israeli company NSO Group was used. In this report, at least 38 people have been claimed to be spying in India.

Name of these journalists of India included
The Guardian has studied the data of Pegasus spyware software and claimed that the list includes the names of Siddharth Varadarajan, a co-founder of news website The Wire and senior journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta. Thakurta’s phone was hacked in 2018. The Guardian report claimed that Thakurta was then investigating how the Narendra Modi government was using Facebook to spread ‘misinformation’ online among Indian people.

Names of many foreign journalists also included
According to the report, an analysis of the leaked data revealed that the names of the UAE’s first female journalist, Raula Khalaf, Moroccan freelance journalist and human rights activist Omar Redi and Azerbaijani investigative journalist Khadija Ismailova are also included. Raula Khalaf became the first woman editor in the history of the newspaper last year. She was deputy editor at the Financial Times when her phone was hacked in 2018. Umar Ready has exposed many corruption of the government. It is being claimed that during 2018 and 2019, his phone was hacked with this software of NSO.

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What does Pegasus Software do?
Pegasus is a malware that hacks iPhone and Android devices. With this, the person sending the malware can even see the messages, photos and emails present in that phone. Not only this, this software can also record the calls coming on that phone. With this software, the phone’s mic can be activated secretly.

How did media organizations get this data?
Actually, this data was first leaked to Paris-based media NGO Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International. It was later shared with 17 media organizations including The Washington Post, The Guardian as part of a reporting consortium. The leaked data lists more than 50000 phone numbers. It is believed that since 2016 NSO was spying on these people through its Pegasus software.

[Attribution to NBT]

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