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Israeli firm NSO’s Pegasus spyware used to infect Downing Street network – Report

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According to reports, the famous Israeli technology company Pegasus, NSO’s spyware, was used to infect Downing Street and the Foreign and Commonwealth Offices.

According to reports, researchers from Canadian internet security watchdog Citizen Lab have concluded that the network at 10 Downing Street, which serves as the residence and office of the British Prime Minister, has been infected with Pegasus. .

About eight years ago, it was Citizen Lab, a group focused on the intersection of technology and information security, that discovered that Pegasus had been used to target journalists and activists.

According to Citizen Lab, Pegasus is able to jailbreak devices and spy on victims. It is described as the most sophisticated attack seen on any device, as it takes advantage of the integration of mobile devices into people’s lives and the combination of features only available on mobile, such as always-on connection. (Wi-Fi, 3G/4G), voice communications, camera, e-mail, messaging, GPS, passwords and contact lists.

Pegasus spyware uses the “zero click” principle to infect target devices and can use a simple missed call to take control of a target’s phone.

Pegasus can completely take over any device by exploiting security vulnerabilities in a device or application. It is able to take precedence over Android, iPhone or Blackberry. Once it takes control of a phone, it turns it into a secret camera and microphone and operates remotely, providing live feeds to the operator, and the phone owner will never know.

Pegasus then takes care of the target’s emails, messages and GPS coordinates.

Reports say a device connected to the Downing Street network was infected with the spyware on July 7, 2020, but noted that the National Cyber ​​Security Center tested several phones in Downing Street, including that of the Prime Minister – but was unable to locate the infected device. He added that the nature of the data collected could not be determined.

Senior Citizen Lab researcher Bill Marczak, quoted by The New Yorker, said: “We suspect this included data exfiltration.

Ron Deibert, the director of Citizen Lab, reportedly confirmed in a statement that in 2020 and 2021 he had “observed and notified the UK government of several suspected cases of Pegasus spyware infections within official UK networks. “.

These included 10 Downing Street and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

Mr Deibert said the suspected FCO-linked infections “were associated with Pegasus operators that we link to the United Arab Emirates, India, Cyprus and Jordan”.

The suspected infection at 10 Downing Street “was associated with a Pegasus operator that we are linking to the United Arab Emirates”, he added.

The Ghanaian government has obtained the Pegasus spyware and there is evidence that it has been used on opposition figures.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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