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Macron holds defense Cabinet meeting on Pegasus spyware revelations


French President Emmanuel Macron will hold an extraordinary defense Cabinet meeting Thursday dedicated to cybersecurity in the aftermath of reports his phone number was possibly targeted with Pegasus spyware by a Moroccan intelligence service, government spokesman Gabriel Attal announced on France Inter Thursday.

An international consortium of media outlets led by French journalism nonprofit Forbidden Stories and NGO Amnesty International reported over the past week on a list of potential targets of Pegasus, military-grade spyware made by Israeli company NSO that allows clients to hack into targets’ cell phones.

Numerous French elected officials and journalists were on the list, as were over a dozen current or former heads of state and government.

“Investigations have started and are advancing,” Attal said. “What the journalistic investigation is saying is that some phone numbers … were targeted. What it’s not saying is whether they were all actually infected, whether data has been pulled out — so that’s what’s being looked at.”

NSO initially claimed in a statement provided to the consortium that Macron “is not, and has never been, a target or selected as a target by NSO customers.” A more recent NSO statement released Wednesday said: “We do not operate the system, nor do we have access to the data of our customers, yet they are obligated to provide us with such information under investigations.”

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