Mobile phones belonging to at least six Palestinian human rights activists were hacked with the Israeli firm NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware. The findings were published in a joint report by Amnesty International, Front Line Defenders and the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab. Those hacked include workers with Palestinian nonprofits that were designated terrorist groups by Israel last month.
In related news, a U.S. appeals court is allowing the WhatsApp messaging service to move forward with a lawsuit against NSO Group over allegedly targeting some of its servers in California to infect about 1,400 mobile devices with malware — a violation of state and federal law.
This comes as Israel is lobbying the U.S. government to remove the NSO Group from a trade blacklist, arguing its software is crucial to Israel’s foreign policy. The NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware has been used by governments to target hundreds of activists, journalists and government officials.