Polish Prosecutors Step Up Probe into Pegasus Spyware Operation

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Poland’s new government appears to be ramping up its investigation into allegations that the previous administration used notorious commercial spyware to eavesdrop on its opponents.

Local reports on Friday revealed that a team from the prosecutor’s office seized devices and documents related to the campaign from the Central Anticorruption Bureau in Warsaw. They’re said to be linked to the Pegasus spyware variant, developed by controversial Israeli firm NSO Group.

Poland’s justice minister Adam Bodnar announced back in April that nearly 600 opposition politicians and allies were targeted by the spyware while the populist Law and Justice (PiS) party was in power.

Bodnar, who is also the country’s prosecutor general, also said on Friday that letters would be sent out to 30 people of “various professions” to tell them their phones had been hacked by spyware, adding that the scale of the operation is “obviously much larger.”

Read more on Pegasus: NSO Group’s Pegasus Spyware Found on High-Risk iPhones

The new coalition government is expected to present a report to parliament outlining the operation in more comprehensive detail.

John Scott-Railton, a senior researcher for Canadian privacy monitor Citizen Lab, tweeted his support for the new government’s efforts.

“Win for transparency in #Poland. Nightmare for NSO Group,” he said. “Poland's full throttle investigation into Pegasus spyware abuses is inspiring. It also saddens me that so [many] countless spyware victims around the world will never get to see this kind of reckoning or justice.”

Pegasus, and spyware like it, is often combined with zero-click exploits designed to get the malware covertly onto targets’ (usually iOS) devices for long-term spying operations.

NSO Group claims it only sells to governments for legitimate law enforcement or security operations. However, Citizen Lab has uncovered countless instances of the spyware being wielded by autocratic governments to spy on dissidents, civil society and opposition politicians.

The non-profit revealed back in 2022 that it notified the UK government in 2020 and 2021, after spotting “multiple suspected instances of Pegasus spyware infections within official UK networks.”

NSO Group is being sued by both Apple and WhatsApp for helping clients to spy on their customers and is on a US trade blacklist.

The firm is said to have spent millions of dollars lobbying the US government.

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