Contact numbers of Indian politicians and journalists have been found on a database of targets for hacking using a ‘Pegasus’ spyware which is only available to government.
Not just Indian politicians and journalists but numbers of members including from legal community, scientists, government officials and others have also been found on the database. More than 300 such numbers are there in the list.
The members whose numbers have been found include 40 journalists, 3 major opposition leaders, 1 constitutional authority, 2 serving ministers in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet, scores of businesspersons and current and former heads and officials of security organisations.
In the database there was also a number that was registered in the name of a sitting Supreme Court judge and it is yet to verify whether the judge still use that number or not.
According to the analysis of the data, most of the numbers were targeted from 2018-2019, in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha general elections.
On being questioned, the Israeli company, NSO Group, which sells Pegasus, has refuted the allegations and said that it only sells its spyware to the “vetted governments”. The company also said that it is “considering a defamation lawsuit”.
Meanwhile, the government has also denied any involvement in the hacking saying, “The allegations regarding government surveillance on specific people has no concrete basis or truth associated with it whatsoever.”