Germany admits to buying spyware from NSO Group
NSO Group is the most notorious commercial spyware developer in the world. The commercial spyware Pegasus developed by it is mainly sold to government agencies.
For example, the iOS system has recently been found to have security vulnerabilities. NSO can use the zero-click vulnerability of Apple iMessage to directly invade the device without any interaction.
This means that as long as the attacker knows the mobile phone number or email address of the target user, he can use the Pegasus spyware to invade the device and enable real-time monitoring.
The Pegasus spy software can remotely turn on the camera for shooting, take pictures, call the microphone for recording, read the address book and text messages, and so on.
At present, Apple has issued an update to block the loopholes used by the Pegasus spyware, but it is not clear whether the group has other loopholes to attack.
In previous reports by the media, the Pegasus spyware is usually purchased by the governments of the United Arab Emirates and other countries or regions in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East.
But recently the German government privately admitted that it purchased Pegasus spyware, which was purchased by the German Federal Criminal Police for special purpose surveillance.
In fact, the use of Pegasus spyware has violated German privacy-related laws, so even the use of this software by the German Federal Criminal Police is illegal.
The German government stated that the spyware was purchased under top-secret circumstances, although the German government’s lawyers also believed that the software may have illegal problems.
Some researchers said that certain functions of the Pegasus spyware purchased by the German Federal Criminal Police were blocked to prevent abuse, but no one knew the specific operation process.
The German Federal Criminal Police said that the agency began negotiations with the NSO Group to purchase the software in 2017 and did not complete the procurement until 2019.
The agency did not receive the Pegasus spyware provided by the NSO Group until 2020, and in 2021, the German Federal Criminal Police Department used the software for the first time in an investigation.
It explained that the software was used to track specific terrorist and organized crime actions, but the agency was reluctant to explain the details.
So far, the German government has refused to make any public comments on this matter, but German media said that some members of Parliament received the government’s answer when they asked questions in private.
The German government stated that national security overrides the public interest on certain issues. Obviously, the German government supports the procurement of this software by law enforcement agencies.
Via: The Times of Israel