President Cyril Ramaphosa on a list of Pegasus surveillance targets

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Earlier this week, we reported how Pegasus, the spyware developed by the NSO Group was found to allow remote access to a group of journalists’ smartphone data. Further research reportedly suggests that South African president Cyril Ramaphosa’s name and number was found on a database of suspected spyware targets. 

Find the mythical Pegasus 

According to The Guardian UK, Ramaphosa’s name was found on the leaked database alongside 14 other heads of government, including French President Emmanuel Macron and Pakistan PM Imran Khan. The information suggests that Ramaphosa was selected as part of the project by the country of Rwanda in 2019. 

“The appearance of a number on the leaked list — which includes numbers selected by governments that are clients of NSO Group, the Israeli spyware firm — does not mean it was subject to an attempted or successful hack,” The Guardian reports. 

This weekend, an investigation revealed that several notable US media were found to have Pegasus spyware installed on their phones. This confirmed that the Pegasus spyware is made and licensed by the Israeli company NSO Group. Originally developed as a tool to track the smartphones of potential terrorists and criminals, it is now being used to track journalists, activists and heads of state around the world. 

Of course, NSO rejected everything in a statement following the published reports saying the media is “full of wrong assumptions and uncorroborated theories”. According to its statement, Pegasus spyware is supposed to be used by governments and law enforcement agencies ‘to fight terrorism and crime’.

Depends on what your understanding of crime is, then. 

Source: The Guardian

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