Spain’s Prime Minister and Defence Minister both tapped using Pegasus spyware

Image: @cmdr_singh

Spain’s PM and Defence Minister both tapped using Pegasus spyware.

The mobile phones of Pedro Sanchez and Margarita Robles were both affected by an “illicit and external” intervention.

SPAIN’S Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and Defence Minister Margarita Robles both had their mobile phones tapped using Pegasus spyware in an “illicit and external” intervention, it was revealed on Monday, May 2.

According to Spanish media reports, the attackers extracted 2.6 gigabytes of data from the president’s phone and nine megabytes from the defence minister.

The revelation comes after news broke that numerous investigations had begun worldwide after Israeli-based firm NSO allegedly tapped government personnel’s devices.

Sánchez’s mobile is believed to have been tapped in May 2021, while Robles device is suspected to have been hacked in June 2021, as reported by El Pais.

“It is not a supposition, they are facts of enormous gravity,” said the minister of the presidency, Felix Bolanos.

“We are absolutely certain that it was an external attack… because in Spain, in a democracy like ours, all such interventions are carried out by official bodies and with judicial authorisation,” he said.

“In this case, neither of the two circumstances prevailed, which is why we have no doubt that it was an external intervention. We want the judiciary to investigate,” Bolanos said.

According to reports from El Pais, the Pegasus software, owned by the Israel-based NSO Group, was only sold to government agencies “to target criminals and terrorists”. The project is believed to have been greenlit by Israeli authorities.

The Government does not yet know what information was stolen and its degree of sensitivity, but it is, in both cases, an amount equivalent to the space required to store several films or thousands of pages, the news outlet noted.

More than 60 Catalan and Basque independence leaders also had devices infected with the Pegasus software, according to Citizen Lab, a group of experts from the University of Toronto (Canada).

Investigations into the devices of these party leaders and officials led to the discovery that Pedro Sánchez and Margarita Robles’ mobile phones had been compromised.

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Written by

Matthew Roscoe

Originally from the UK, Matthew is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]