Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s phone was hacked with Pegasus spyware – POLITICO

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and Defense Minister Margarita Robles were attacked with Pegasus spyware monitoring their cellphones, the government said on Monday.

During an emergency press conference on a public holiday in Spain, Presidency Minister Félix Bolaños said that in May and June 2021 there had been a total intrusion into government leaders’ mobile communications by an “external” force.

Sánchez’s phone was infected twice and large amounts of data were extracted from both phones, the government said.

“When we talk about external interventions, we mean that they are foreign to the state and do not have judicial approval from an official body. Therefore, we classify them as illegal and external,” Bolaños said, adding that the government is currently investigating whether other high-level members have been hacked.

Developed by Israeli company NSO Group, Pegasus is used by government agencies and others around the world to spy on politicians, journalists and activists, according to recent investigations uncovered.

The spyware has been making headlines in Spain for weeks. A recent investigation found that at least 65 Catalan politicians and activists were targeted by the spyware while acting as journalists uncovered last year that the software was likely used by governments around the world to keep tabs on opponents.

On Wednesday the plenary session of the European Parliament is up for debate EU countries’ use of the Pegasus software against individuals, including MPs.

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