Several hundred demonstrators rally outside the offices of the Consulate General of Azerbaijan to protest the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in Los Angeles in 2020. November 1 Investigators accuse the UFO group of using military-grade espionage programs against Armenia and others. File photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License photo
May 25 (UPI) — Azerbaijan and NSO Group, a former client of Azerbaijan, used military-grade spying software to hack into Armenian civil society members, journalists, human rights activists and at least one United Nations official, investigators said Thursday.
Researchers at Access Now, CyberHUB-AM, Citizen Lab and others said they found the Pegasus hacking campaign’s use of military spyware linked to the military conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.
The hack by individuals linked to Armenia was first discovered in November 2021, two months after the country’s clashes with Azerbaijan.
“Victims of the Armenian espionage programs are the former human rights defender (ombudsman) of the Republic of Armenia, two journalists of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Armenian Service, a United Nations official, a former representative of the Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (now an NGO worker) and seven other representatives of Armenian civil society” , – Access Now. the report said.
“Circumstantial evidence suggests that the target is linked to the military conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh (also known as Artsakh Republic in Armenia) between Armenia and Azerbaijan. This is the first documented evidence of the use of Pegasus espionage programs in international warfare. context”.
Pegasus, a powerful spyware that can hack into any phone and remotely control it, has never been caught in a military conflict.
“This study reveals the serious nature of the spyware threats permeating civil societies in Armenia and Azerbaijan,” said Donncha O Cerbhaill, head of Amnesty International’s Security Lab, which also participated in the study.
“The authorities must stop all efforts to stifle free speech and launch an independent and transparent investigation into the Pegasus attacks revealed in both countries.”
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