Phones numbers of Indian ministers, opposition leaders and journalists have been found on a leaked database of targets for hacking that used Israeli spyware ‘Pegasus’, reported news website The Wire and other publications this evening.
Members of the legal community, businessmen, government officials, scientists, rights activists and others are also in the list of over 300 verified Indian mobile telephone numbers, the reports said.
The Wire’s analysis of the data shows that most of the names were targeted between 2018 and 2019, in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha general elections.
The Israeli company, NSO Group, which sells Pegasus, has claimed that it only offers its spyware to “vetted governments”.
The government has denied involvement in the hacking, saying, “There has been no unauthorised interception by government agencies.”
According to The Wire, forensic tests conducted on some phones associated with these numbers revealed clear signs of targeting by Pegasus spyware. Without subjecting a phone to a technical analysis, it is not possible to conclusively state whether it was successfully compromised, the website said.