#NSOGATE: French President Macron changes phone after hack reports

French President Emmanuel Macon has changed his phone and number after reports that he was targeted with Israeli-made spyware called Pegasus. The president’s office said Mr Macron had also ordered an overhaul of security protocols. This week, Le Monde reported that he and 14 French ministers were flagged for potential surveillance by Morocco. Moroccan authorities have denied using Pegasus, and said the allegations were “unfounded and false”. The spyware infects iPhones and Android devices, allowing users to extract messages, photos and emails. Calls can be recorded, while microphones and cameras can be activated covertly. It is not clear if the … Continue reading #NSOGATE: French President Macron changes phone after hack reports

#NSOGATE: French President Macron identified as spyware target

French President Emmanuel Macron is one of several world leaders believed to have been targeted for phone hacking using spyware, media reports say. The software, known as Pegasus, infects phones and allows operators to spy on their targets. The leaders are on a list of some 50,000 phone numbers of people believed to be of interest to clients of Israeli-based firm NSO Group. The list was leaked to major news outlets. NSO denies any wrongdoing. It says the software is intended for use against criminals and terrorists. It says it is made available only to military, law enforcement and intelligence … Continue reading #NSOGATE: French President Macron identified as spyware target

Update: Indian parliament opens amid Pegasus spyware row

India’s parliament has begun a new session on Monday amid allegations that spyware from an Israeli firm was used to hack phones of MPs, businessmen and journalists. The targets’ phone numbers were on a database believed to be of interest to clients of Israeli firm NSO. The list was leaked to major news outlets. It is unclear where the list came from or how many phones were hacked, the Indian government has denied any unauthorised surveillance. The allegations about the use of the malware, known as Pegasus, were published on Sunday as part of a global investigation by the Washington … Continue reading Update: Indian parliament opens amid Pegasus spyware row

Israeli spyware maker is in spotlight amid reports of wide abuses

A major Israeli cyber-surveillance company, NSO Group, came under heightened scrutiny Sunday after an international alliance of news outlets reported that governments used its software to target journalists, dissidents and opposition politicians.Hatice Cengiz, Jamal Khashoggi’s fiancée, was reportedly targeted using Pegasus software. The Israeli government also faced renewed international pressure for allowing the company to do business with authoritarian regimes that use the spyware for purposes that go far afield of the company’s stated aim: targeting terrorists and criminals. NSO strongly denied the claims. NSO has attracted scrutiny since 2016, when the company’s software was said to be used against a … Continue reading Israeli spyware maker is in spotlight amid reports of wide abuses

Iranians ‘plotted to kidnap US, Canada and UK targets’

Four Iranian nationals have been charged with plotting to kidnap a New York-based journalist, the US Department of Justice says. The indictment did not name the target, but Masih Alinejad, an Iranian-born author, says it was her.  The conspirators, described as intelligence officials, also allegedly plotted to lure a person in the UK and three others in Canada to Iran. All of the targets had been critical of Iran, says the Manhattan indictment. Prosecutors said the Iranian government had sought to lure the New York-based journalist to a third country where the abduction was planned. The plotters even offered money … Continue reading Iranians ‘plotted to kidnap US, Canada and UK targets’

Mariam Thompson, love-struck US army linguist, jailed for 23 years

A US military linguist has been jailed for 23 years for passing classified information to a foreign national linked to the Lebanese Islamist militant group Hezbollah. Mariam Thompson, 62, admitted sharing the names of US informants in Iraq to a man she was romantically linked with. She said she had been “desperate” for “someone to love me in my old age” and did not set out to harm anyone. Prosecutors said she knew she was putting US sources and troops at risk. “Thompson’s sentence reflects the seriousness of her violation of the trust of the American people, of the human sources … Continue reading Mariam Thompson, love-struck US army linguist, jailed for 23 years

Central African Republic charges French national with espionage

Authorities in the Central African Republic (CAR) have charged a French national with espionage and conspiracy, nearly a month after his arrest. Juan Remy Quignolot was detained on May 10 after police said it had found weapons, military fatigues and foreign banknotes at his residence in the capital, Bangui. Authorities accused him of having aided and trained rebel fighters in the conflict-wracked country since 2013. The CAR’s Attorney General Eric Didier Tambo said on Wednesday Quignolot had been charged with espionage, illegal possession of military and hunting weapons, criminal association, harming domestic state security and conspiracy. He made no reference … Continue reading Central African Republic charges French national with espionage

US seizes 2 domain names used in cyberespionage campaign

The Justice Department said Tuesday that it has seized two domain names used in a cyberespionage campaign that targeted U.S. and foreign government agencies, think tanks and humanitarian groups. The campaign was disclosed last week by Microsoft, which linked it to the same group of Russian intelligence operatives responsible for the massive SolarWinds intrusion that breached federal agencies and private corporations. The company said over the weekend that it was “still not seeing evidence of any significant number of compromised organizations at this time.” The White House on Friday similarly downplayed the cyber assault as “basic phishing,” in which hackers use … Continue reading US seizes 2 domain names used in cyberespionage campaign

France rejects Iranian spy charges for tourist Benjamin Briere

France has criticized spying charges brought against one of their citizens in Iran, calling them “incomprehensible”. Benjamin Briere, 35, was arrested last year in Iran after flying a drone near the Iran-Turkmenistan border. On Sunday Iranian prosecutors charged him with espionage, which is punishable by death if he is convicted. A French foreign ministry statement said it “knew of nothing that could back up” the accusations. It said that Mr Briere was on holiday in the country when he was arrested in May 2020. The charges come at a time of rising tensions between Iran and European countries and the … Continue reading France rejects Iranian spy charges for tourist Benjamin Briere

Denmark helped US gather data on European officials

Denmark’s secret service helped the US spy on European politicians including German Chancellor Angela Merkel from 2012 to 2014, Danish media report. The Defence Intelligence Service (FE) collaborated with the US National Security Agency (NSA) to gather information, according to a report by Danish broadcaster Danmarks Radio. Intelligence was collected on other officials from Germany, France, Sweden and Norway, according to the report. Similar allegations emerged in 2013. Then, secrets leaked by US whistleblower Edward Snowden alleged tapping of the German chancellor’s phone by the NSA. When those allegations were made, the White House gave no outright denial, but said … Continue reading Denmark helped US gather data on European officials

China begins espionage trial of Australian writer Yang Hengjun

The trial of an Australian-Chinese writer charged with espionage by China has begun in a closed-door court in Beijing. Yang Hengjun, an Australian citizen, has been detained for over two years after a 2019 arrest at an airport. Beijing has revealed next to no details about his charges, leading Australia to contend he is suffering an “arbitrary detention”. His case has developed as relations have worsened between the two nations. Dr Yang is a scholar and novelist who had maintained a blog on China affairs. He was nicknamed the “democracy peddler”, but his writings in recent years hadn’t been directly … Continue reading China begins espionage trial of Australian writer Yang Hengjun

US to deport Russian man who tried to hack Tesla

A Russian man was sentenced Monday to what amounted to time already served and will be deported from the United States after pleading guilty to trying to pay a Tesla employee $500,000 to install computer malware at the company’s Nevada electric battery plant in a bid to steal company secrets for ransom. Egor Igorevich Kriuchkov, appearing by videoconference from jail, apologised after US District Judge Miranda Du in Reno acknowledged the attempted hack was not successful and the company network was not compromised. “I’m sorry for my decision. I regret it,” the 27-year-old Kriuchkov said through a Russian-language court interpreter. … Continue reading US to deport Russian man who tried to hack Tesla