Most famous human rights lawyers, activists and journalists in Mexico have been targeted by a professional spyware called “Pegasus” sold to the government of Mexico to be used only to study criminals and terrorists.
At least three Mexican federal agencies have bought about $80 million worth of advanced spyware produced by an Israeli cyberarms company. The software, identified as “Pegasus”, that has been used to penetrate smartphones to spy on every detail of a person’s cellular life such as calls, texts, email, contacts and calendars. Pegasus also can use the microphone and camera of the smartphones for monitoring, turning a target’s phone into a personal bug.
The NSO Group (the company that creates the software) said that it sells the spyware software only to governments, with a clear agreement that it will be used only to fight terrorists or the drug gangs and criminal organizations.
The victims had received over 76 messages with links to NSO Group’s exploit framework were sent to Mexican journalists, lawyers, and a minor child (NSO Group is a self-described “cyber warfare” company that sells government-exclusive spyware).
Once the victims view the messages and open the links, the malware will be downloaded onto their smartphones, making the victim’s smartphone into a spying tool, putting the victims fully under the control of the operator.