Top EU politician says phone likely hacked with Israeli spyware

European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders delivers the opening statements during a plenary session on the Commissions 2020 Rule of law report at the European Parliament in Brussels, Wednesday, June 23, 2021. (Aris Oikonomou/Pool Photo via AP)

A top European Union lawmaker said his phone was likely compromised by a spyware known as Pegasus, a technology tool developed and distributed by Israeli company NSO Group, Reuters reported on Wednesday. 

EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said in a July 25 letter obtained by Reuters that Apple informed him last year that his iPhone had likely been hacked using Pegasus.

Apple’s findings prompted an inspection of Reydner’s devices as well as phones belonging to other EU employees. 

Though the investigation into the Belgian politician’s phones was inconclusive, investigators found evidence showing that a hack did occur.

In his letter, Reydner said that “it is impossible to attribute [this evidence] to a specific perpetrator with full certainty,” adding that the investigation was still ongoing. 

According to Reuters, an EU committee revealed last week that 14 EU member states had purchased NSO technologies in the past.

NSO Group has come under increasing scrutiny in the U.S. amid allegations of its use to spy on dissidents, journalists and politicians around the world.

Earlier this month, U.S.-based defense contractor L3Harris ended its bid to buy hacking tools from NSO Group, following concerns raised by the Biden administration that the acquisition would “pose a serious counterintelligence and security risk to U.S. personnel and systems.”

The U.S. Department of Commerce also blacklisted the Israeli company in November due to concerns around malicious cyber activities.

Apple went after NSO Group in November, suing the company over the use of spyware on iPhones. The tech giant sought to ban the Israeli firm from using Pegasus on its hardware. 

Tags Didier Reynders European Union NSO group Pegasus Spyware Spyware

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