After reports that his phone and the phones of ministers were being targeted by spyware, French President Emmanuel Macron called an emergency cybersecurity meeting.
Macron uses his phone regularly, and he is “taking it very seriously,” Gabriel Attal, a government spokesperson, said Thursday on France Inter radio.
Global media consortium Le Monde reported this week that Pegasus spyware by Israeli company NSO Group could have been used to target activists, journalists and politicians in multiple countries. Le Monde, a French newspaper, was one of the members of the consortium. It reported that a Moroccan security agent had access to Macron’s cellphones and 15 other French government officials on a list of possible targets for the spyware in 2019.
The government of Morocco denied any wrongdoing.
Attal stated that investigations are underway to determine if the spyware was installed on the phones and if data was retrieved. Attal stressed the need for greater cybersecurity to safeguard public facilities such as hospitals that were previously targeted by malicious software.
Haim Gelfand from NSO told Israel’s i24News that Macron is not a target. He stated that the company would review cases revealed by the consortium and will press clients to find out how they use the system. He explained that the company has a meticulous process when deciding to sell systems.