German journalist Martin Mono said that the Pegasus spyware scandal reflected the dictatorship of repressive regimes, including the Saudi regime.
In a “Just an Opinion” article on the German network, Mono said that “making spyware available to authoritarian governments is complicity in human rights abuses and reinforcement of dictatorship.
Pegasus is a Trojan horse that turns mobile phones into zombie data. Emails, encrypted correspondence, and schedule data can be read on the phone.
The microphone and camera can be turned on secretly, and the device is not necessarily targeted via a specific email or website. It can be hacked without a link click.
“The painful experience that the line between legal and illegal surveillance is not clear in dictatorships, everything is exposed, and unfortunately only a little is new.”
He cited the US National Security Agency’s spying for years on the mobile phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel before the matter was discovered.
Mono pointed out that Pegasus attacks on iPhones are not new. Five years ago, it was discovered that the iOS operating systems on Apple phones had vulnerabilities through which Pegasus software could access data.
Apple needed several updates to fill in the loopholes – which damaged the company’s reputation for data protection.
“So there is nothing new, but it is frightening because this also relates to murder, imprisonment and intimidation. The Pegasus leaks should have three consequences, one for each of us, one for the Israeli manufacturer NSO and one for the European Union.”
The German journalist stated that the first is simple: “we should all realize that our data stored on mobile devices is only partially secure, even when it is encrypted.”
“What no one else should see shouldn’t be on a mobile phone, from intimate videos to classified information,” he said.
“We should also remain skeptical if our governments justify the need for more data-stealing Trojans to fight crime, as happened recently in Germany.”
The second lesson – according to journalist Mono – concerns the company that developed the Pegasus program, which, as is unfortunately usual in such cases, distances itself from this scandal.
“Those who provide spyware to authoritarian governments such as those in Belarus or Saudi Arabia are complicit in human rights abuses and even murders,” Mono asserted.