Reckless abuse (again) of surveillance spyware that was sold to governments

We keep seeing a common theme when it comes to spyware sold exclusively to governments, surveillance spyware which is marketed as lawful tools to help governments fight crime and terrorism; those remote intrusion solutions are increasingly used to spy on people who the governments consider to be a threat because those people are revealing the truth to the public. The latest example comes from Mexico, showing how powerful spyware was used to target journalists investigating high-level official corruption and human rights defenders investigating government-sponsored human rights abuses.

The surveillance spyware Pegasus (pdf), sold by the Israel-based NSO Group, is meant to remotely take complete control of mobile phones. While this isn’t the first time the stealthy Pegasus has been abused by governments for purposes other than preventing and investigating crimes, Citizen Lab said it is the first time a minor has been targeted with infection attempts using governmental spyware. Why target a kid? To spy on his mother.

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Network World Security