The Federal Bureau of Investigation has admitted that one version of this software was tested by the Israeli NSO Group, all in order to “ensure the safety of its citizens.
Pegasus has recently received a lot of publicity in the foreign media and suffice it to cite a recent New York Times report in which journalists inform their readers about the relationship between the FBI and the notorious NSO Group .
They point out that the Federal Bureau of Investigation tried to spy on smartphones using foreign SIM cards and discussed the possibility of using a certain version of this software in the U.S. Department of Justice.
This is interesting because the NSO Group previously assured Americans that it was impossible to spy on their numbers using Pegasus. So it looks like the company has two different stories – one for citizens and one for law enforcement. Especially since, according to a former NSO Group employee, the Phantom name appearing in the reports is just one option for Pegasus, designed to divert attention from negative opinions about the software.
And while its creators claim that this solution, which allows infecting smartphones to gain access to the device’s microphone and camera, contacts, messages and many other elements, was created to fight terrorism and crime at the highest level, such as gangs or drug organizations, it has long been known to be used to spy on activists, journalists, lawyers or political opponents as well.
As we can see, Pegasus is enjoying an increasingly worse reputation, and we have just received this confirmation from the FBI itself, which decided to make an official comment for The Washington Post.
From it we learn that the agency actually licensed the Pegasus software and tested its capabilities. At the same time, the bureau assures us that Pegasus was never part of any investigation and has not been tested on specific cases.
However, it does not cite other allegations made by the New York Times, such as the $5 million bill for NSO Group’s services, nor does it say whether it has decided to buy back the license.