Dhaka — A list of 17 countries whose governments have been eavesdropping on the phones of journalists, dissidents and human rights activists using Israeli spyware Pegasus has been leaked to the media.
Bangladesh is not on the list of countries where the investigation has found evidence of widespread surveillance.
In 2018, a Canadian-based organization, Citizen Lab, found that Bangladesh was on the list of 45 countries that were found to be spying on phones using spyware.
Between August 2016 and August 2018, Citizen Labs scanned the Internet of servers connected to the NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware. They get 1,091 IP addresses that match the NSO’s fingerprints. As well as getting 1,018 domain names, which point the finger at the NSO.
Citizen Lab identifies five operators who are thought to be operating in Asia. An operator called GANGES used politically themed domain signature. To hack devices in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Brazil and Hong Kong.
After analyzing the DNS cache hits, Citizen Lab speculated that spyware had infiltrated Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Limited (BTCL).
Asked about this, Posts and Telecommunications Minister Mostafa Jabbar told the media, “There is no question of buying such software. This news often proves to be rumors. We checked our networks; we didn’t find any problems anywhere. ‘
However, he said law enforcement agencies would be able to say better.
Earlier on Sunday, a search of 17 media outlets led by the Paris-based non-profit news organization Forbidden Stories was released. According to the report, the smartphones of journalists, government officials and human rights activists have been hacked in the country using the spyware called Pegasus made by the Israeli organization NSO.
Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International leaked a list of 50,000 phone numbers selected by NSO customers for surveillance purposes.
Later that day, the NSO issued a statement rejecting the report. The organization says the report is “full of misconceptions and baseless theories.” However, Citizen Lab said in a report that the forensic method adopted by Amnesty International to find out whether the phone was hacked using NSO spyware is correct and accurate.
The NSO added that their products were designed for use only by government intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies in the fight against terrorism and crime.
In India, Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi and 40 journalists from the Indian Express, The Hindu, Hindustan Times and The Wire have been intercepted using the spyware.
Pegasus also targeted a phone number once used by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan. Dozens of diplomats from India and other countries, including China and Iran, have also been targeted by the spyware.