New Evidence of Pegasus Surveillance of Hungarian Journalist

  • 13 Sep 2021 7:25 AM
  • Hungary Around the Clock
New Evidence of Pegasus Surveillance of Hungarian Journalist
The investigative news website Direkt36 has evidence that the spy software Pegasus developed by Israeli company NSO was recently deployed in Hungary.

The website reports that the spyware was implanted in the smartphone belonging to Zoltan Pava, an ex-Socialist politician who runs the pro-opposition website Ezalenyeg, more than once last spring.

Experts from Amnesty International and Canadian research group Citizen Lab found that Pegasus was present on the phone on March 16-24 and May 23-27.

It is not known what data the hackers wanted to obtain, but it is certain that they had access to everything that was available on the device. The phone’s microphone and its camera may have been turned on remotely by the spyware.

The Pegasus story erupted in July, when an international team of journalists discovered a database containing 50,000 telephone numbers that may have been monitored via the spyware, including 300 in Hungary belonging to journalists, opposition politicians and business figures. Pava’s phone was not among them because it is supposed that the database was leaked before he became a target.

There is a great deal of information suggesting that Hungarian state bodies could be behind the use of Pegasus in Hungary, Telex writes.

Earlier, a former Hungarian intelligence officer told Direkt36 that, according to his information, national security agencies had started using Pegasus, which in principle the developer may only sell to government clients, in 2018.

A former employee of NSO also confirmed that Hungary had purchased the Pegasus service.

Since the outbreak of the case, no representative of the Hungarian government has clearly denied that the Hungarian state is a client of NSO, nor that they have targeted the people mentioned by Hungarian media.

Pava said it is “desperate and frightening” that in Hungary if a journalist, lawyer or businessman does not think what the governing side does, and expresses it, this can be a reason for surveillance.

“I am definitely not scared and this is why I want what happened to be made public because I have nothing to hide,” he declared.

Related links

Special Report: Journalists & Critics of PM Orbán Targeted with Pegasus Cyberweapon

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