Major human rights group among Pegasus spyware targets — Analysis

According to the NGO, Lama Fakih was the Director of the Beirut Office.

Human Rights Watch, a New York-based NGO, stated Wednesday that NSO Group spyware had been used to attack its employees. 

According to the human rights organization, Lama Fakih was the target of the hacking software. He is also the director for its Beirut office and oversees the country’s crisis response. Fakih’s remit extends to operations in Syria, Myanmar, Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, and the United States.

“This includes documenting and exposing human rights abuses and serious international crimes during armed conflicts, humanitarian disasters, and severe social or political unrest,”An HRW statement is read.

HRW stated that the work might have caught the eye of government officials, even those who are NSO clients.

“It is no accident that governments are using spyware to target activists and journalists, the very people who uncover their abusive practices,” Fakih said. “They seem to believe that by doing so, they can consolidate power, muzzle dissent, and protect their manipulation of facts.”

Fakih was sent a message by Apple in November 24 stating that her iPhone may have been targeted by state-sponsored attackers. 

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Amnesty International’s Security Lab peer reviewed the analysis and confirmed that the phone was infected with Pegasus spyware five times between April and August 2021.

The Israeli software grants the hacker the ability to read messages, look through photos, track the person’s location, and even switch on the camera without the knowledge of the phone’s owner.

In July, NSO spyware emerged after an investigation conducted by Forbidden Stories in Paris, which was in partnership with Amnesty International as well as 17 other media organisations.

According to an investigation, approximately 50,000 mobile phones were illegally accessed with the malware. The potential victims were found in Azerbaijan (Bahrain), India, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

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