Spyware by Israel’s NSO used against journalist: Amnesty

JERUSALEM (AFP) – Amnesty International said yesterday that software developed by Israeli security firm NSO Group was used to attack a Moroccan journalist, the latest in a series of allegations against the company.

The Israeli firm told AFP that it was “deeply troubled by the allegations” and was reviewing the information.

Amnesty said the Moroccan authorities used NSO’s Pegasus software to insert spyware onto the cellphone of Omar Radi, a journalist convicted in March over a social media post.

Pegasus is reportedly a highly invasive tool that can switch on a target’s phone camera and microphone as well as access data on it, effectively turning the phone into a pocket spy. “The attacks occurred over a period when Radi was being repeatedly harassed by the Moroccan authorities, with one attack taking place just days after NSO pledged to stop its products being used in human rights abuses,” Amnesty said in a statement.

The hacking of Radi’s phone continued until at least January, the London-based rights group said.

The Israeli firm said it could not comment on “any relationship NSO Group might have with Moroccan authorities” due to confidentiality, but that it was looking into the concerns raised by Amnesty.

The company told AFP that it would “initiate an investigation if warranted”.