France is currently developing a copy of Pegasus, the spyware capable of infiltrating any smartphone. After refusing the purchase of the malware, the French authorities are reportedly seeking to duplicate its capabilities.
A few days ago, a report from the MIT Technology Review, an independent American magazine, accused France of having wanted to buy the Pegasus malware from its creator, NSO Group. Citing sources close to the case, the media assures that the French authorities were actively negotiating with the Israeli firm when the Pegasus scandal erupted last July.
France reportedly decided to cut ties with NSO when it turned out that Pegasus had been used to spy on French ministers. According to information from Mediapart, a foreign power used the software to infiltrate the phone of 5 ministers, including the Minister of National Education Jean-Michel Blanquer and the Minister of Territorial Cohesion Jacqueline Gourault.
France would prepare spyware similar to Pegasus
The Elysee quickly denied the information assuring that France was seeking to buy Pegasus. But, several days after the MIT Technology Review report, an article in Le Monde came up to cover it. According to the media, the French authorities are actively developing a copy of the spyware for failing to purchase it.
Like the original model, this Pegasus clone would be capable ofextract information on a smartphone unbeknownst to its owner. According to information from Le Monde, the software developed by France is not as sophisticated or efficient as the malware from NSO. Pegasus is indeed able to bypass the security of an iPhone or an Android smartphone without requiring any action on the part of its victim. As a reminder, Apple recently filed a complaint against the creator of the malware Pegasus. The Californian firm asks the American justice to prohibit NSO Group from using products of its own, such as an iPhone.
Also read: this app checks if the Pegasus malware has been installed on your Android or iOS smartphone
“Several state services were strongly interested in Pegasus’ capabilities”, says the World. The development of spyware would have started at the request of state organizations such as the DGSI (Directorate-General for Internal Security) in order to monitor possible threats or help officers “Working on drug trafficking cases”. Note also that French law has allowed the authorities to hack a smartphone remotely since 2017.
Source: The World