Pegasus scandals .. Israeli spy application targets Finnish diplomats and a Hungarian organization is suing the company that developed it

Yesterday, Saturday, an Israeli lawyer confirmed that he is cooperating with a Hungarian non-governmental organization to sue the Israeli company “NSO” (NSO), the creator of the “Pegasus” program, on behalf of Hungarian journalists who were illegally spied on, while the company confirmed that it would cooperate with any possible investigation. Spying on Finnish diplomats.

The Pegasus program was at the center of a global espionage scandal last year, after the spread of a list of 50,000 entities that were spied on around the world, including journalists, political figures and human rights activists.

The media that published the list accused Hungary of using this spying technology against civil society organizations.

It is the first time that direct victims of Israeli defense exports have filed a request in Israel to open a criminal investigation against a defense company and senior Israeli officials, attorney Itai Mac told AFP.

He added that he had asked the Israeli attorney general to open an investigation into how NSO was allowed to sell its spyware in Budapest.

According to him, this request was submitted in cooperation with the Hungarian Federation of Civil Liberties, which confirms that “Pegasus” targeted 4 journalists.

Pegasus can hack into a mobile phone’s camera or microphone and get its data.

The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union confirmed – in a statement – that it had submitted complaints to the Hungarian ministers who oversee intelligence, and to the European Commission. The organization said it intends to file a large number of lawsuits before the European Court of Human Rights.

The organization indicated that all legal means will be used to enforce respect for the rights of those who were illegally spied on.

In November 2021, Lagos Kosa, a prominent member of Hungary’s ruling party, confirmed that his country had used “Pegasus”, stressing that the aim was not to illegally spy on Hungarian citizens.

Finland’s ambassadors

In a related context, the Israeli company that created “Pegasus” confirmed that it would cooperate with any possible investigation into spying on Finnish diplomats with this electronic program.

The Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the mobile phones of a number of its diplomats were spied on using “Pegasus”.

The ministry said – in a statement – that the perpetrators of the espionage operation might have been able to collect data from the devices they spied on, without referring to the party behind the espionage in particular.

The ministry confirmed that the information transmitted over the phone is general information or classified at the fourth level as a maximum, which is the lowest level of confidential information, adding that the information itself and its source may be subject to diplomatic secrecy.

The targeted mobile devices belonged to Finnish diplomats working abroad, but the ministry refused to reveal how many were targeted or the identity of the attacker.

The Israeli company confirmed – in a statement – that it is not aware of the facts, but it can confirm that it will assist in any investigation into this matter to determine whether a misuse of its products has occurred.

“If any misuse by one of our customers is detected, we will take immediate action, including canceling the customer’s contract and system,” added the company – which was included last November on the US blacklist of companies that threaten state security.

A few days ago, the head of the “NSO” company announced his resignation, a week after a report said that the Israeli police had used the infamous program to spy on citizens.

The Pegasus program works on the basis of penetrating mobile phones through malicious messages.

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