Pegasus: France's Emmanuel Macron Changes Phone After Name Appears in List
Prosecutors in Paris have opened a probe to investigate the complaints from Mediapart and Le Canard Enchaine.
A day after French President Emmanuel Macron called for an urgent national security meeting in relation to the Pegasus spyware case, he has changed his mobile handset and his phone number, a presidency official said on Thursday, 22 July.
This comes after media reported that phone numbers linked to at least 14 world leaders, including French President Emmnuel Macron, were among the potential Pegasus spyware targets.
The presidency official was quoted as saying, "He's got several phone numbers. This does not mean he has been spied on. It's just additional security," Reuters reported. However, Macron’s security protocols are being adapted, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said.
An hour after yesterday's Cabinet meeting, Attal said, "Obviously we're taking (this) very seriously."
Meanwhile, as the Pegasus revelations continue, prosecutors in Paris have opened a probe following complaints from investigative website Mediapart and the satirical newspaper Le Canard Enchaine, AFP reported.
Several international media organisations reported that the Pegasus spyware was used in snooping on smartphones belonging to journalists, human rights activists and government officials in several countries, including 300 phone numbers in India.
Though it has not been established if an attempted or successful hacking had taken place, as Macron’s phone has not yet been forensically analysed, evidence of an attempted hacking, allegedly originating in Morocco, was found on the device of former environment minister Francois De Rugy.
De Rugy on Tuesday, 20 July, demanded Morocco to provide "explanations to France, to the French government, and individuals like me, who was a member of the French government when there was an attempt to hack and access the data on my mobile phone", AFP reported.
Macron Was Not a Target: NSO
Denying that Macron was a target, Chaim Gelfand, chief compliance officer at NSO Group, told Israeli television network i24 on Wednesday, 21 July, we can “specifically come out and say for sure that the president of France, Macron, was not a target”.
NSO had earlier said that it does not operate the systems that it sells to vetted government customers and neither does it claim to have access to the data of its customers’ targets. However, it can obtain the NSO for investigation purposes.
(With inputs from Reuters and AFP)
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