Macron among 14 heads of states on potential spyware list
BOSTON (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron leads a list of 14 current or former heads of state who may have been targeted for hacking by clients of the notorious Israeli spyware firm NSO Group, Amnesty International said Tuesday.
“The unprecedented revelation ... should send a chill down the spine of world leaders," Amnesty's secretary general, Agnes Callamard, said in a statement.
Among potential targets found on a list of 50,000 phone numbers leaked to Amnesty and the Paris-based journalism nonprofit Forbidden Stories include Presidents Imran Khan of Pakistan, Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa and Barham Salih of Iraq. Three current prime ministers and the king of Morocco, Mohammed VI, are also on the list, The Washington Post reported.
The Post said none of the heads of state would offer their smartphones for forensic testing that might have detected whether they were infected by NSO's military-grade Pegasus spyware. Thirty-seven phones identified in the investigation were either breached or shows signs of attempted infection, it has reported.
The Post and 16 other members of a global media consortium were granted access to the leaked list. Another member, the French daily Le Monde, determined that 15 members of the French government may have been among potential targets with Macron in 2019.
Following first reports by consortium members on Sunday, the Paris prosecutor’s office said it was investigating the suspected widespread use of NSO's military-grade Pegasus spyware to target journalists, human rights activists and politicians in multiple countries.
Also Sunday, Amnesty released a forensic analysis of the alleged targeting that showed Amazon Web Services was hosting NSO infrastructure. In response, Amazon said it shut down NSO accounts that were “confirmed...