Members of the European Union had cell phones compromised by spyware

The European Union has found evidence that smartphones used by some of its employees were hacked by a software of spying on an Israeli company, the bloc’s top justice official said in a letter seen by Reuters.

In a July 25 letter to lawmaker Sophie in ‘t Veld, EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said Apple informed him that his iPhone had possibly been hacked by Pegasus, a tool developed and sold to governments by the Israeli surveillance company NSO Group.

Apple’s warning triggered an inspection of Reynders’ personal and professional devices, as well as other phones used by European Commission officials.

While the investigation did not find conclusive evidence that Reynders’ or employees’ phones were hacked, investigators did find indicators of compromise, a term used to describe that there is evidence showing that an attack took place.

Reynders said that “it is impossible to attribute these indicators to a specific perpetrator with complete certainty.” He added that the investigation is still active.

An NSO spokesperson said the company will cooperate with an European Union investigation. “Our assistance is even more crucial as there is no concrete evidence so far that a breach has taken place,” the spokeswoman said in a statement to Reuters.

NSO Group is being sued by Apple for violating its terms of user and service agreement.

Last week, the parliamentary committee announced that its investigation found that 14 EU member states had purchased NSO technology in the past.

Reynders’ letter says officials from Hungary, Poland and Spain have been or are being questioned about the use of Pegasus.

The European Commission also raised the issue with Israeli officials, asking them to take steps to “prevent the misuse of their products in the European Union”, the letter reads.

A spokesman for the Israeli Defense Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

*Reproduction of this content is prohibited.

Translated to english by RJ983

From Brazil, by EBC News

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