Fourth Belgian victim of Pegasus spyware

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Amnesty International’s Security Lab has found traces of Pegasus spyware on a Belgian activist’s iPhone. Knack and Le Soir report this on Wednesday.


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“On November 1, the US Department of State sent me an email,” says El Mahjoub Maliha (36) from Tessenderlo. “When I opened the mailbox on my iPhone, I noticed that the email was already marked as ‘read’. Before I even saw the email. How could that be? At that moment I understood that someone was looking at my phone.”

At the beginning of November Maliha contacted the Security Lab of the human rights organization Amnesty International. He forwarded system diagnostics and a copy of the data on his iPhone. The Security Lab then found traces of malicious processes related to Pegasus. The tracks date from January, March, April, May and June 2021.

The Belgian who comes from Western Sahara works as a volunteer for Codesa, a collective of Saharawi human rights activists.

El Mahjoub Maliha is the fourth known Belgian victim of Pegasus, a spyware of the Israeli company NSO Group. NSO sells that spyware to countries and government departments. This allows them to hack mobile phones remotely and then extract all information from them, such as passwords, text messages, photos and contact lists. The software can also turn on the microphone and camera remotely or take screenshots unseen.

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