The French President, Emmanuel Macron, convened an “exceptional” defense council this Thursday to address the case of the Israeli-made Pegasus spy program in the wake of information on its use in France, government spokesman Gabriel Attal announced.
“The president follows this issue very closely and takes it very seriously,” Attal told France Inter radio, adding that the meeting will be dedicated to the Pegasus case and the cybersecurity, after it was revealed that Macron’s phones were among the potential targets of this spy program.
A consortium of 17 media outlets, including the ‘Washington Post’, ‘The Guardian’ and ‘Le Monde’, claimed Tuesday that one of Macron’s phone numbers and those of several cabinet ministers are listed on a list of possible targets de Pegasus.
The newspapers say they have not been able to confirm whether it was a hacking attempt or was carried out successfully.
There is evidence of a hacking attempt on the phone of the former environment minister and Macron ally, Francois de Rugy, supposedly from Morocco. De Rugy on Tuesday demanded that Morocco give “explanations.”
NSO Group has denied that Macron is among its clients’ goals. “We can safely say that French President Macron was not a target,” he said Wednesday. Chaim Gelfand, a director of the NSO Group, to the Israeli television network i24.
Change in Macron phones
A security source told AFP on Wednesday that “the most restrictive security parameters possible” apply to Macron’s mobile phones.
‘The (president’s) telephones are change regularly. There are a number of security parameters that they protect, which are changed very frequently, ”said the government spokesman.
Other revelations this week indicate that Morocco, a close ally of Paris, also targeted prominent journalists in France.
Morocco denies the accusations, saying it “never acquired software to infiltrate communication devices.”
The joint media investigation into Pegasus identified at least 180 journalists in 20 countries that were selected as potential targets between 2016 and June 2021.
Pegasus can hack mobile phones without the user knowing, allowing customers to read all messages, track the location of a user and access the cell phone’s camera and microphone.