Catalan Leaders Accuse Spanish Government of Pegasus Spyware Campaign

Catalan leaders accused the Spanish government of illegally spying members of the Catalan civil society using the spyware Pegasus.

Canadian research laboratory The Citizen Lab, in collaboration with Catalan civil society groups, reported at least 65 victims of Pegasus hacking. Targeted individuals included academics, activists, non-governmental organizations, and Catalonia’s elected officials.

Catalan Members of the European Parliament (MEP) that supported the independence of Catalonia were targeted with the spyware. Every Catalan president from 2010 were also included in the list, as well as Catalan legislators.

Pegasus infected the victims phones and other devices through zero-click attacks and malicious text messages. The spyware installed on the victims’ phones and computer devices can read texts, listen to calls, collect passwords, track locations, access devices’ microphones and cameras, and get information from installed applications.

“We do not conclusively attribute the targeting to a specific government, but extensive circumstantial evidence points to the Spanish government,” The Citizen Lab reported.

The Citizen Lab said that Pegasus were sold to governments around the world.

The recorded incidents of Pegasus infections occurred between 2017 and 2020.

Spain and Catalonia have been in conflict for many years. In 2017, the Constitutional Court of Spain declared Catalan referendum law as unconstitutional.

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