Israel examines Pegasus spyware maker NSO's offices

Israel examines Pegasus spyware maker NSO's offices following scandal
2 min read
29 July, 2021
The Israeli ministry of defence took to Twitter to explain that multiple government agencies had attended NSO Group's offices close to Tel Aviv following the Pegasus spyware scandal.
NSO's Pegasus spyware has been the subject of an international scandal [JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty]

The creator of the infamous Pegasus spyware subject to an international scandal over the past week has had its offices close to Tel Aviv examined by the Israeli state.

The nation's ministry of defence (MoD) on Wednesday visited NSO Group's offices, The Guardian reported on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Benny Gantz, Israel's defence minister, was on a trip to Paris where he addressed the scandal with French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly after it was reported that President Emmanuel Macron was among those chosen as potential spying targets.

The French leader asked for a "proper investigation" when he talked with Naftali Bennett, Israel's premier, by phone last Saturday.

While initial coverage suggested the Pegasus developer's place of business had been stormed, the firm issued a release saying it had just been "visited" and was forewarned that an examination would be occurring.

The organisation indicated it was told figures from the ministry who are in charge of supervising foreign sales of cyber technology would be coming.

NSO Group said: "The company is working in full transparency with the Israeli authorities".

Perspectives

The Israeli ministry of defence took to Twitter to explain that multiple governmental organisations attended the tech firm's offices following the discoveries surrounding its Pegasus spyware, according to The Guardian.

The organisation has repeatedly said a mobile number was present among the 50,000 that came into the possession of a media and NGO collective known as the Pegasus Project.

NSO insisted: "The list is not a list of Pegasus targets or potential targets. The numbers in the list are not related to NSO Group in any way."

The presence of a phone number on the register doesn't signify any attempt to hack their devices, but some media believe the list tells us who the spyware customers were considering targeting.

Users are believed to include a number of Middle East governments, including the UAE.

Who has been 'targeted' by regimes using NSO's Pegasus spyware?
NSO's Pegasus spyware has been subject to a serious scandal. Click here to enlarge image.

Aside from Macron, those whose numbers were on the register include Middle Eastern royals, Lebanese politicians and even individuals connected to slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

NSO has said no Pegasus client had selected Macron as a "target", according to The Guardian.

When Benny Gantz met his French counterpart, he said Tel Aviv was probing what happened "with the utmost seriousness", his department related.

Last Tuesday, the defence minister claimed his country fully complies with international law amid the scandal while at Tel Aviv University's Cyber Week.