12 senior Indonesian officials targeted by NSO software - report

The officials include Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, a senior military official, and two local diplomats.

An aerial view shows the logo of Israeli cyber firm NSO Group at one of its branches in the Arava Desert, southern Israel, July 22, 2021. (photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)
An aerial view shows the logo of Israeli cyber firm NSO Group at one of its branches in the Arava Desert, southern Israel, July 22, 2021.
(photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)

More than 12 senior Indonesian military and government officials were targeted by software developed by Israeli cyber company NSO Group, Ynet reported on Thursday night, citing sources familiar with the matter, six of whom were interviewed by Reuters and said they had also been targeted by the software.

The officials include Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto, a senior military official, two local diplomats and advisers to Indonesia's foreign and defense ministers, according to the Ynet report.

The report cited Apple and cybersecurity experts as saying the victims had been targeted using the ForcedEntry exploit, which is used to remotely hack into iPhones.

A spokesperson for NSO Group denied that the software had been used to hack Indonesian officials, the report added.

Why is NSO group controversial?

NSO Group has been at the center of international controversy since reports emerged last year that officials, journalists, activists and politicians in numerous countries had been targeted using Pegasus, a software developed by the company and sold to governments.

ISRAELI CYBER firm NSO Group’s exhibition stand is seen at ISDEF 2019, an international defense and homeland security expo held in Tel Aviv in 2019. (credit: KEREN MANOR)ISRAELI CYBER firm NSO Group’s exhibition stand is seen at ISDEF 2019, an international defense and homeland security expo held in Tel Aviv in 2019. (credit: KEREN MANOR)

In Israel, Calcalist revealed that police had been using Pegasus to conduct surveillance on citizens without prior court approval.

Tzvi Joffre contributed to this report.