Matthew Hedges named as possible target of Pegasus malware

Matthew Hedges named as possible target of Pegasus malware
2 min read
22 July, 2021
A British academic who was detained in the UAE for several months in 2018 might have been a target of Israeli-made malware.
Several high profile British individuals were named [Getty]

A British academic held in the UAE for several months in 2018 is allegedly among 400 people in the UK thought to have been the targets of malware developed by NSO Group, according to reports.

The UAE, one of 40 countries with access to the NSO spyware, appears to be the government that selected the British mobile phone numbers which appeared in a leaked list released as part of an investigation by Amnesty International and several media outlets including The Washington Post and The Guardian.

The number of Matthew Hedges appeared in the data when he was in the UK. He is a British citizen who was detained by the UAE for seven months and charged with "spying" during his time as a student.

He said he "wants to know what the British government is doing" about his details being on the list.

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NSO has repeatedly denied responsibility for spying, and said that just because numbers appeared on the leaked list does not mean they were targets of the Pegasus malware the tech company developed.

"The list is not a list of Pegasus targets or potential targets," the company said. "The numbers in the list are not related to NSO group in any way."

However, the collection of media and NGO entities involved in the Pegasus Project investigation believe that the leaked list shows specific people targeted by governments.

The Pegasus malware, produced by Israel's NSO Group tech firm, has over the past few days been implicated in monitoring efforts by repressive regimes in the Middle East and beyond.