Strong evidence suggests that between 2015 and 2016, Mexico’s government used Israeli spyware — known as “Pegasus” — to monitor the phones of journalists, human rights lawyers, and anti-corruption activists, The New York Times reported. Among those targeted were lawyers investigating the missing 43 students in Ayotzinapa, as well as family members of those investigating Mexico’s corruption. Juan E. Pardinas, who has fought for anti-corruption legislation, described being the target of Mexico’s government, saying, “We are the new enemies of the state.”
Since 2011, Mexico’s government purchased more than $80 million in software from Israel-based NSO Group Technologies.
The Israel-based NSO Group sold their highly advanced cyber weapon to Mexico on the condition that its government restrict its target to threats against public safety, like terrorists, cartels, and kidnappers. But Mexico’s government, which bought more than $80 million worth of software from NSO, began to target its own citizens. Those targeted by the hacking received personalized messages with links. Recipients that clicked on the link would unknowingly install the spyware on their devices, allowing the hacker complete access.
The New York Times has an extremely in-depth write up on the developments of this scandal. Check it out here.
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