EU Officials Targeted with Pegasus Spyware

Senior European Union (EU) officials were targeted with Pegasus spyware last year, according to a report by Reuters. These include current European Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders, a senior Belgian statesman who has served as the European Justice Commissioner since 2019, and at least four other commission staffers.

Security researchers subsequently produced a a report for the EU Commission detailing how Senior European Union officials were targeted with the Pegasus spyware.

Reuters published some of the details saying that it was notified of the claims by documentation in its possession and claims filed by two EU officials. The EU Commission had reportedly become aware that its members and staff were being targeted by the malicious spyware after Apple contacted them in mass messages sent to victims of Pegasus attacks in November 2021.

After the warning, one senior IT operative at the EU Commission sent a message that informed colleagues about spyware tool. He emphasised that it was critical to pay attention to additional warnings from Apple and remain diligent as a potential target. 

It is not clear who targeted Reynders and his colleagues and whether the attempts were successful. This report marks the latest in a series of damaging claims against Pegasus Spyware and the company that created it, NSO Group.

The company has since been added to a US export backlist and is being sued by Apple and Facebook for the attacks.

Jake Moore, global cyber security advisor at ESET, commented, “Pegasus continues to attack devices and intrude on people’s lives in what seems like an endless game of cat and mouse... This extremely intrusive spyware is phenomenally powerful and can send extremely personal data such as text messages, photos and real-live location back to a remote threat actor... Similar spyware has been historically connected with targeting high profile or government officials who must remain aware of the possibility of being targeted at any time.”

In February 2022, the European Data Protection Supervisor called for a ban on the development and the use of Pegasus-like commercial spyware in the region, pointing out the technology's "unprecedented level of intrusiveness" that could endanger users' right to privacy.

Reuters:      ESET:     Oodalop:      Infosecurity Magazine:     TimesofIsrael:    The Hacker News

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