Israeli-made Pegasus spyware found on phone of critic of Indian PM - report

Wilson's phone was reportedly hacked multiple times using the NSO Group spyware.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves upon his arrival to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (not pictured) in Ramallah, in the West Bank February 10, 2018. (photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMAD TOROKMAN)
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves upon his arrival to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (not pictured) in Ramallah, in the West Bank February 10, 2018.
(photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMAD TOROKMAN)

The Israeli-made Pegasus surveillance software was reportedly found on the phone of a critic of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, according to The Guardian

The phone's owner, Rona Wilson, jailed on terror-related charges, is now facing new scrutiny following these new allegations, including a plot to assassinate Modi. 

An indigenous rights activist, Wilson has been detained for more than three years and has been in contact with dozens of writers, lawyers and other activists who advocate for the same rights he does. 

Wilson's phone was reportedly hacked using the NSO Group spyware three months before his arrest and was done so multiple times in July of 2017, and then in February and March of the following year.

Evidence cited against them is reportedly on laptops used by the people Wilson was in contact with, The Guardian reported, citing research by the science firm Arsenal Consulting.

 AN AERIAL view shows the logo of Israeli cyber firm NSO Group at one of its branches in the Arava Desert. (credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS) AN AERIAL view shows the logo of Israeli cyber firm NSO Group at one of its branches in the Arava Desert. (credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)

There have been several other cases where phones have been infected with Pegasus – which allows the spyware's operators to intercept phone calls, read text messages and track the individual's current location. 

Last month, Mexico detained a man on allegations of cyber spying on a journalist using Pegasus.

Another report around the same time stated that the phones of six Palestinian rights activists, who were connected to the six Palestinian NGOs described by Israel as terror groups, were hacked by NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware.

Yonah Jeremy Bob and Reuters contributed to this report.