Experts On The News: Catalan Politician’s Phone Targeted By Governmant Spyware

As reported by The Guardian, one of Catalonia’s most senior politicians has been warned his mobile phone was targeted using spyware its makers say is only sold to governments to track criminals and terrorists. A joint investigation by the Guardian and El País has revealed that the speaker of the Catalan regional parliament, Roger Torrent and at least two other pro-independence supporters were told they were targeted last year in what experts said was a “possible case of domestic political espionage” in Europe.

According to a US lawsuit, the spyware exploited a previous vulnerability in WhatsApp software that would have given the operator potential access to everything on the target’s mobile phone – including emails, text messages and photographs. It could also have turned on the phone’s recorder and camera, turning it into a listening device. WhatsApp believes the attacks occurred over a two week period in April to May 2019, when a total of 1,400 of its users were allegedly targeted by the ‘Pegasus’ spyware sold by the Israeli company NSO Group.

Experts Comments

July 15, 2020
Jake Moore
Cybersecurity Specialist
ESET
Phone attacks on people such as Jeff Bezos and other high profile stars and politicians via WhatsApp drive the message home that we are all vulnerable to attack. Too many of us still ignore security patches thinking they're either not that important or we're too busy to update the software on our laptop or phone. Those all-important updates, however, are the result of discovering multiple and constant vulnerabilities that have real-world consequences for our personal and professional data.
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