Debrief: Pegasus spyware

Reports of spying on world leaders, activists trigger uproar

Up to 50,000 phone numbers from more than 50 countries said to have been targeted

Indian Youth Congress activists protesting against the Indian government over the alleged phone tapping of journalists and politicians, in New Delhi on Tuesday. There have been allegations that Pegasus was used by the government to engineer the fall
Indian Youth Congress activists protesting against the Indian government over the alleged phone tapping of journalists and politicians, in New Delhi on Tuesday. There have been allegations that Pegasus was used by the government to engineer the fall of the Karnataka state government and effect large-scale defections from ruling coalition parties.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

The revelation that a sophisticated cyber-surveillance tool developed by an Israeli company has allegedly been used to spy on government leaders, prominent journalists, democracy advocates, corruption fighters and lawyers around the world has triggered an uproar and a search for answers.

Dubbed Pegasus, the software has escalated concerns over government abuses against detractors, with as many as 50,000 mobile numbers from more than 50 countries targeted, according to a leaked list of surveillance targets.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 22, 2021, with the headline 'Reports of spying on world leaders, activists trigger uproar'. Subscribe