The management of the International Security Expo in London announced that the Israeli spyware company NSO will not display or promote Pegasus, which has been proven to be used by governments to spy on activists and dissidents.

This confirmation came after a letter from human rights organizations - including the Arab Organization for Human Rights in Britain - in addition to some victims, who demanded that the exhibition management withdraw its invitation to the Israeli company.

The signatories pointed to the role played by the spying program in facilitating widespread human rights violations that took place in the past and could be repeated in the future, according to the letter.


targeting officials

And last week, it was announced that the phones of 5 French ministers and a diplomatic advisor to French President Emmanuel Macron had been targeted by the Pegasus program.

According to a report published by Mediapart last Friday, the French security services detected the hack during the inspection of phones, and they believe that the hack occurred between 2019 and 2020.

The ministers targeted are Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquet, Minister of Territorial Unity (under the Ministry of the Interior) Jacqueline Gouraud, Minister of Agriculture Julien Donnormandy, Minister of Housing Emmanuel Wargon and Minister of Expatriation Sebastien Lucornu, according to Mediapart.

Two French sources familiar with the investigation confirmed - to Agence France-Presse - the validity of the information contained in the report, on condition of anonymity because they did not have a permit to speak to the media.

Pegasus can operate a smartphone's camera and microphone and obtain its data.


Investigation

An investigation - conducted by 17 media organizations and published its results last July - revealed that the Pegasus spy program was used to penetrate the phones of journalists, officials and activists in different parts of the world.

The investigation was based - conducted by prominent international media, including the French "Le Monde", the German "Süddeutsche Zeitung", the British "The Guardian" and "The Washington Post" (The Washington Post). Post) to a list obtained by Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International.

The list included the numbers of at least 180 journalists, 600 politicians, 85 human rights activists and 65 businessmen, according to the analysis conducted by the group. It was confirmed that 37 phones were hacked or attempted to penetrate the Israeli group's spyware program.

In July, a list of up to 50,000 phone numbers believed to be from people NSO considered to be of interest since 2016 was leaked.


And "NSO" is an Israeli company specializing in developing cyber espionage tools, founded in 2010, and employing about 500 people, and its center is located near Tel Aviv.

The company has been the subject of much controversy in recent years, with Canadian internet monitoring lab Citizen Lab saying the company's Pegasus system is being used by countries with "suspicious human rights records and histories of abusive behavior by state security services".

And Pegasus is an expensive spyware program. According to the 2016 price list - according to the “FAST Company” website, NSO is asking $ 650,000 from customers for penetrating 10 devices, in addition to half a million dollars in installation fees for the program.

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