According to a report, a cell phone number of the French President could have been tapped. The alleged attackers are suspected in North Africa. The President is silent about the incident.
A cell phone belonging to French President Emmanuel Macron may have been tapped using the “Pegasus” spyware. An international research network, in which NDR, WDR, “Zeit” and the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” are involved, reports on this. According to this, a list of telephone numbers that were allegedly affected by the spyware also included a number that can be assigned to the French President.
According to the French newspaper “Le Monde”, Macron has been using the number since 2017. The former Belgian Prime Minister and current head of the EU Council, Charles Michel, is also said to have been spied on. In addition, other numbers could be assigned to other heads of state and government, including those from Iraq, South Africa, Lebanon and Pakistan.
Trail leads to Morocco
The research group had previously evaluated a data leak with more than 50,000 telephone numbers, which are said to have been selected as a target for possible surveillance by customers of the Israeli company NSO Group since 2016. How many of the ports were actually hacked or monitored is unclear.
According to reports, the “Pegasus” program developed by the company is currently considered by experts to be the most powerful surveillance program for cell phones and has been classified as a cyber weapon. It is able to spy on infiltrated cell phones in real time and bypass the encryption of messenger services such as WhatsApp or Signal. The NSO Group only sells the program to government agencies and officially for the purpose of combating terrorism and serious crime.
The French government has not yet commented on the incident. According to the reports, the spying attacks against Macron and Michel are believed to have come from Morocco. The country’s embassy in France, however, denied the allegations.