European Commission finds “evidence” Pegasus was stolen by spyware

The European Commission has found “evidence” of Pegasus spyware infiltrating several officials’ mobile phones, specifically targeting Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders, according to a letter published on Thursday.

In a letter dated Monday, Reinders told European Parliament member Sophie, who received a warning from Apple in November last year that she was the target of a potential attack by Pegasus software developed by the Israeli NSO. group.

Other members of the commission received similar notices, according to a letter cited by Agence France-Presse (AFP).

The alerts prompted an investigation, which “did not confirm that Pegasus was able to affect the commissioner’s personal or professional devices” for Justice or any other employee.

However, multiple checks of these devices “resulted in the discovery of traces of theft,” the letter said, “making it impossible to definitively attribute these traces to a specific perpetrator.”

The letter did not provide further details on the outcome of the ongoing investigation, and the commission did not contact them for security reasons.

When asked about the issue today, a European Commission spokesman declined to say how many cellphones were affected.

For its part, the NSO said it was ready to “cooperate with any investigation to establish the truth,” stressing that “as of today, there is no conclusive evidence that a violation has occurred,” according to an agency spokesperson.

The letter from the Commissioner and his colleague Johannes Hahn comes in response to a request for information from Dutch MEP Sophie in’t Veld, rapporteur for the European Parliament’s inquiry into the use of Pegasus and other ‘spyware’ programs against journalists. , politicians and civil society actors.

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The European Commission has sent letters to Hungary, Poland and Spain regarding the use of Pegasus.

According to the European Commission, Hungary and Poland responded that the use of the ‘software’ was a matter of “national security” and not Community law – something contested by Brussels – while Spain has yet to comment.

Greek MEP Nikos Androulakis filed a complaint at the Greek Supreme Court on Tuesday that a Pegasus-like ‘spyware’ predator was trying to spy on his mobile phone.

The initiative was signaled by a service created by the European Parliament to control the presence of illegal surveillance programs on MEPs’ phones.

The Pegasus program was designed to target criminals and terrorists, but it has also been used to hack the mobile phones of international political leaders, journalists, human rights activists or company directors.

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