Website of the controversial company NSO Group: »Telephone examined by the IT security authority«
Photo: JOEL SAGET / AFP
French media have published new information in the espionage affair surrounding the Israeli company NSO Group.
According to this, the phones of at least five French cabinet members have been infected with the Trojan Pegasus, which is being developed by the controversial company.
Two representatives involved in the case, who did not want to be named, confirmed a corresponding report by the news portal Mediapart to the AFP news agency on Friday.
During an investigation by the IT security authority, it was found that the phones were infected with Pegasus in 2019 and 2020, Mediapart reported.
Those affected include Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer and Housing Secretary Emmanuelle Wargon.
The telephone of a diplomat in the Elysée Palace was also affected.
State Secretary changes phone
"My phone is one of the ones that were examined by the IT security agency," Wargon confirmed to the online portal of the newspaper "L'Opinion".
She has not yet been informed of the result and has since changed phones, she added.
The Pegasus spying software can access and send data on the phone unnoticed.
Research by 17 international media outlets published in July revealed that the phones of at least 180 journalists, 600 politicians and 85 human rights activists had been used for surveillance operations with the spy software.
The NSO Group itself rejected the media reports in the past as false and spoke of a "well orchestrated media campaign." According to the NSO Group, Pegasus is only intended for use against terrorists and criminals.
Several investigations are already underway in France following the media revelations.
The Federal Criminal Police Office has also bought a slimmed-down version of the controversial software.
hpp / afp