Pegasus spyware was found on high ranking Spanish government official’s smartphones

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Spyware. Ransomware. Malicious software. These are all realities in this new digital world we live in, and even with mitigation measures, sometimes these things get through. Even government officials are not immune to falling victim. Such was the case of Spain’s prime minister and defense minister, who both had their smartphone infected with Pegasus spyware.

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Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez had his smartphone breached on two occasions by Pegasus in May of 2021, and Pegasus hit defense minister Margarita Robles in June of 2021.

The breaches, which resulted in a significant amount of data being obtained, were not authorized by a Spanish judge, which is a legal requirement for national covert operations, Bolaños said at a hastily convened news conference in Madrid.

“We have no doubt that this is an illicit, unauthorized intervention,” Bolaños said. “It comes from outside state organisms and it didn’t have judicial authorization.”

The Socialist-led government was during those months under intense scrutiny over its handling of a major foreign policy spat with Morocco and gripped by a tense domestic dispute over the release of jailed separatists from Spain’s restive Catalonia region.

Bolaños refused to speculate who might have been behind the Pegasus breach, nor what might have prompted it. The National Court opened an investigation into the breach, and a parliamentary committee on intelligence affairs was set to look into it.

They were targeted with the software of two Israeli companies, Candiru and NSO Group, the developer of Pegasus. The spyware silently infiltrates phones or other devices to harvest data and potentially spy on their owners.

APNews

The ability of hackers, governments, and bad actors to initiate something like Pegasus on even well-protected targets is cause for concern. We all should pay attention to security; though nothing is 100% protective, being proactive is at least a deterrent. Be sure to read the AP’s full report for more details on this story.

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Last Updated on May 2, 2022.

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