HELSINKI (Reuters) – The Finnish foreign ministry said on Friday it had detected Pegasus, a controversial spyware tool developed by Israeli-based NSO Group, in several phones used by its diplomats abroad.
Israel has come under global pressure https://www.reuters.com/world/israels-attorney-general-orders-probe-into-police-spyware-allegations-2022-01-21 over allegations that Pegasus has been abused by some foreign client governments to spy on human rights activists, journalists and politicians.
“It is a highly advanced malware that has been brought into an Apple or Android phone without the user noticing or having to take any action,” a Finnish foreign ministry statement said.
A ministry spokesperson said it would not comment further on the discovery of Pegasus in some of its diplomats’ phones.
An investigation into the matter was carried out over the past several months, the ministry said.
The need for secure intelligence information from Finland has increased recently https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/finland-enhances-military-readiness-tension-rises-over-ukraine-2022-01-25 as tensions between the West and Russia in the Baltic Sea region have grown, Finnish deputy spy chief Teemu Turunen told Reuters on Tuesday.
NSO has said it could not confirm or deny any existing or potential customers for Pegasus. It said it does not operate the system once sold to its governmental customers nor is it involved in any way in the system’s operation.
(Reporting by Essi Lehto; Editing by Mark Heinrich)