Paris (AFP)

Emmanuel Macron asked Thursday, during an exceptional Defense Council dedicated to the Pegasus affair, "a strengthening of all security protocols" of sensitive means of communication, said the Elysee.

"The President demanded a strengthening of all security protocols in parallel with the technical operations of detection and clarification in progress" on the case, specified the presidency after the revelations on the presence of Emmanuel Macron's phones among the potential targets spyware.

Emmanuel Macron "himself changed phone and phone number for certain exchanges", she added, at the end of this meeting organized before his departure for Japan to attend the ceremony. opening of the Tokyo Olympics.

This Defense Council was organized following information released by Le Monde and Radio France, which are part of the consortium of 17 media responsible for the revelations on a mass spy system linked to the Pegasus software.

They revealed that a number of the head of state appeared "in the list of numbers selected by a Moroccan state security service, user of the Pegasus spyware, for potential piracy".

"The president takes this subject very seriously and closely follows the progress of the investigation," said the Elysee.

Repeating that if the facts were "proven", they would be "obviously very serious", the presidency specifies that "no certainty at this stage has emerged, so caution remains in the comments".

A little earlier, government spokesman Gabriel Attal indicated that the defense council had "made it possible to have a progress report on this verification work".

Before the meeting, he had specified on France Inter that this investigation did not say whether the president's phones had "all been indeed infected, if data was + withdrawn".

A security source assured AFP on Wednesday that, for Mr. Macron's cell phones, "the security settings are as restrictive as possible and the installations of applications and downloads are blocked."

"The phones (of the President) are changed regularly. There are a number of security parameters which protect, which are changed very regularly. There are protections which are made," assured Gabriel Attal, dismissing the criticisms on a possible negligence at the top of the state.

In addition, the national agency for the security of information systems (ANSSI) "has started to offer people who may have been targeted by an attack technical support," he added.

According to media revelations, the numbers of former Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and 14 members of the government were "in the list of numbers selected by a Moroccan state security service, user of the Pegasus spyware, for a potential piracy".

The Cherifian kingdom disputes its involvement in this espionage affair intended, according to him, to "destabilize the deep diplomatic relationship between Morocco and France" and has decided to sue Amnesty and Forbidden Stories for defamation before the Paris Criminal Court.

According to these associations, the case concerns a list of 50,000 telephone numbers in the world selected since 2016 by the customers of the Israeli company NSO, which markets Pegasus.

More generally, Mr. Attal affirmed the importance of "protecting the public and economic sectors" of the country, recalling that a plan of "100 million euros" had been launched a year ago to "equip our hospitals and help our local communities "to face cyber attacks.

On the political level, the evocation Thursday to the National Assembly by rebellious France of the Pegasus affair provoked a violent exchange between the UDI deputy Meyer Habib and the LFI group, accused of "anti-Semitism".

© 2021 AFP