Israel Spyware Used To Hack Phones Of U.S. State Dep't Officials
Several news outlets revealed Friday that Apple notified at least 11 US State Department officials that their iPhones were recently hacked by an unknown party or parties with spyware developed by the private Israeli firm NSO Group, the lobby group Common Dreams reported for RawStory.
Photo Insert: At least 11 US Department of State officials were hacked.
The "bombshell," first reported by Reuters, comes after Apple sued NSO Group last month in an effort to protect iPhone users from its Pegasus spyware, which the Israeli company claims to only sell to government law enforcement and intelligence agencies and was the focus of a major reporting project earlier this year.
Citing multiple unnamed sources, the Washington Post and Reuters explained that State Department employees based in Uganda or elsewhere in East Africa were targeted over several months, and the intrusions "represent the widest known hacks of US officials through NSO technology."
A senior Biden administration official, speaking on condition he not be identified, said the threat to U.S. personnel abroad was one of the reasons the administration was cracking down on companies such as NSO and pursuing new global discussion about spying limits.
The official added that they have seen "systemic abuse" in multiple countries involving NSO's Pegasus spyware.
The National Security Council said in a statement reported by the Post that "we have been acutely concerned that commercial spyware like NSO Group's software poses a serious counterintelligence and security risk to U.S. personnel, which is one of the reasons why the Biden-Harris administration has placed several companies involved in the development and proliferation of these tools on the Department of Commerce's Entity List."