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Pegasus: Why did Morocco spy on Emmanuel Macron?


The Eliseo Palace asked Rabat for explanations. It is not known if they were able to extract information from the president's cell phone.

Maria Laura Avignolo

07/23/2021 12:16 PM

  • Clarí

  • World

Updated 07/23/2021 12:16 PM

The Israeli Pegasus system and you listen to them on the phone of President Emmanuel Macron, his former Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and 14 of his ministers, makes France uncomfortable and its link with

an ally like Morocco

, the country that allegedly interfered with it.

El Elíseo Palace asked Morocco for clarification.

But also to Israel, the country of origin of the sale of the system, whose owners are linked to the Mossad, its security service.

For its part, Morocco has sued

Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International

for defamation, having been the ones who discovered the espionage.

Morocco has chosen the "judicial path, defending itself against false accusations".

Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi are the other countries that bought the system.

El Elíseo Palace asked Morocco for clarification.

Photo: AFP

The emir of Dubai

pursued his daughter

, Princess Latifa, who was fleeing, and his ex-wife Haya, who also fled to London with their children, through the system.

Saudi Arabia listened to the relatives of Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post opposition journalist, dismembered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

France is going to demand "morality in surveillance technologies."

His concern is the next electoral campaign.

The issue will be discussed at the parliamentary level but it will be


at all levels.

Forbidden Stories' revelations about the infiltration forced the French head of state to convene a restricted Defense and Security Council at the Eliseo palace.

So far it is known that Macron's cell phone

was listed in the system

of the Israeli company NSO.

"These are extremely shocking serious events, which if proven, are extremely serious," said the government spokesman, Gabriel Attal.

Macron's personal phone

The tapped and monitored phone is one of the president's personal cell phones, one of those that appears above his official photo.

You use it for your private conversations

as well as for professionals.

It is regularly changed and benefits from strict security parameters.

The tapped and monitored phone is one of President Macron's personal cell phones.

Photo: AFP

The head of state is not allowed to install an application on it.

But it is known that he often

uses WhatsApp

because he feels more secure.

The cell phone regularly

goes to the atelier of the secret services

(DSI), which takes care of its maintenance.

That is why it does not mean that because the phone is on the system's “aspirated” list, it has been forcibly listened to.

"No certainty has emerged at this stage. So caution remains in the comments," said people around him, after this defense council meeting, also dedicated to

"cybersecurity" issues.

The president has all the same 'phones and changed phone number for certain applications.

He demanded a strengthening of all security protocols, in parallel with the ongoing technical detection and clarification operations, ”added Elíseo, specifying that it was a precautionary measure and

not a confirmation of espionage


"The National Agency for Information Systems Security (ANSSI) has offered its services to those for whom there is a suspicion of intrusion," Elysee also said.

Fourteen heads of state under surveillance

Macron is one of 14 heads of state with his "sucked" phone.

NSO, an Israeli company founded in Tel Aviv in 2011, sells a system that is inserted into a Smartphone and allows you to retrieve messages, photos, contacts and, at the same time, listen to the calls to its owner.

It was discovered by

an investigation of 17 newspapers around the world

, including Le Monde, The Guardian, and the Washington Post.

Chaïm Gelfand, a senior group official, told Israeli television: "I can say with certainty that President Macron's phone was not a target."

NSO sold its system

to authoritarian regimes

, who have used the mechanism to spy on their opponents, journalists, heads of state and not just criminals or terrorists.

At least

50,000 phones

have been under surveillance since 2016. This includes 180 journalists, 600 men and women in politics, 85 people linked to human rights and 65 businessmen.

Among those watched in Mexico appears the telephone number of

Cecilio Pinedo Birto

, who was


weeks after his appearance in this document.

Fear of the electoral campaign

In France, the government is proposing to presidential candidates a meeting with the National Agency for Information Security (ANSSI) to

sensitize them on cybersecurity issues

in the campaign.

The proliferation of cyber weapons developed by private actors, such as the Israeli company NSO, raises fears of a growing democratization of cyber-conflict.

The spying practices allowed by Pegasus are just one facet of the threats.

During a hearing before the Defense Committee in the National Assembly in June, Guillaume Poupard, the head of ANSSI,

distinguished three categories

: cyber crime, in particular through ransom demands against data hacking, espionage or sabotage.

In the first category, he mentioned the attack on the Colonial Pipelin company.

In the second he cited recent examples: Microsoft Exchange, where China was targeted by the United States, and SolarWinds, for which Moscow was accused.

"It is as if the Russian bombers had been flying over US soil for months

without being seen,

" described an insider on the subject, summarizing the scope of the intrusion.

For the third category, it evoked

the infiltration "of a sleeper agent

in the networks of twenty victims in France using the Sandworm operating mode," associated with the GRU, the Russian intelligence service, he specified.

On Wednesday, ANSSI issued an "alert" against "a vast campaign affecting numerous French entities."

"Particularly virulent," "is driven by the

APT31 operating mode

," ANSSI said.

APT31 designates a group that works for China.

Within armies, cyber warfare is unambiguously considered to have

already started

between international powers.

Intrusion detection remains extremely complex even if, technically, specialized services have won the competition.

Spyware systems "are not always detectable

until they are activated,

" according to specialists.

Paris, correspondent


Look also

Constant cyberattacks: the key to a new era

Cyber ​​espionage: Pegasus and the "hidden side" of Israeli technology diplomacy

Source: clarin

All news articles on 2021-07-23

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