Prosecutors in Paris said Tuesday they had opened a probe into allegations that Moroccan intelligence services used the Israeli-made malware Pegasus to spy on several French journalists.
Investigative news website Mediapart and two of its journalists are the latest of numerous organizations and individuals alleging that they had been spied on using NSO Group's spyware.
The investigation will examine 10 different charges, including whether there was a breach of personal privacy, fraudulent access to personal electronic devices and criminal association.
An investigation published on Sunday by 17 media organizations, led by the Paris-based non-profit journalism group Forbidden Stories, said spyware made and licensed by the Israeli company NSO Group had been used in attempted and successful hacks of 37 smartphones belonging to journalists, government officials and human rights activists.
Mediapart revealed in a series of tweets that the phones of its founder Edwy Plenel and one of its journalists were among those targeted by Moroccan intelligence services.
Other journalists working for French media companies were allegedly targeted by Moroccan security services, including employees of Le Monde, Agence France-Presse (AFP) and FRANCE 24.
Morocco has published an official statement rejecting what it called "unfounded and false allegations" and that it "never acquired computer software to infiltrate communication devices."
NSO said its product was intended only for use by vetted government intelligence and law enforcement agencies to fight terrorism and crime.