A number of overseas operators, including in the United Arab Emirates, allegedly infected the United Kingdom’s government networks with Pegasus spyware in the past, according to a new report from cybersecurity watchdog Citizen Lab cited by The New Yorker.
The watchdog group reported that networks belonging to the UK Prime Minister’s Office, along with what is now known as the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO), were allegedly infected by the powerful hacking tool, created by the scandal-ridden Israeli cyber firm NSO Group, in previous years.
“We confirm that in 2020 and 2021 we observed and notified the government of the United Kingdom of multiple suspected instances of Pegasus spyware infections within official UK networks,” Citizen Lab announced in a news update on its website.
While the suspected FCDO infections were attributed to operators based in Jordan, Cyprus, the UAE, and India, the watchdog group explained that the alleged Pegasus infection at the premier’s office was affiliated with only one country.
“The suspected infection at the UK Prime Minister’s Office was associated with a Pegasus operator we link to the UAE,” Citizen Lab said.
The news marks the latest international development in the continuing Pegasus spyware scandal - last week, two EU sources confirmed to Reuters that a number of senior European Commission officials were also targeted by the hacking tool last year.
NSO Group dismissed the allegations as "wrong and misleading" and denied any involvement with the alleged hacking with Pegasus on 10 Downing.
"For technological, contractual and legal reasons, the described allegations are impossible and have no relation to NSO’s products," a spokesperon for the company said.
"As the New Yorker itself cited, no evidence of relation to Pegasus was found."
Reprinted with permission from i24NEWS.