Canada’s Citizen Lab says the cellphones of nearly three dozen journalists and activists in El Salvador, several of whom were investigating alleged state corruption, have been hacked since mid-2020 and implanted with sophisticated spyware typically available only to governments and law enforcement.
The alleged hacksMontreal and Vancouver, which came amid an increasingly hostile environment in El Salvador for media and rights organizations under populist president Nayib BukeleThe pandemic. But, like Kumar, were discovered late last year by the Citizen Lab, which studies spyware at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairsor 27.6 per cent.
Human-rights group Amnesty International, which collaborated with Citizen Lab on the investigation, says it later confirmed a sample of Citizen Lab’s findings through its own technology arm.
Citizen Lab said it found evidence of incursions on the phones that occurred between July 2020 and November 2021. It said it could not identify who was responsible for deploying the Israeli-designed spyware known as Pegasus. The software has been purchased by state actors worldwide, some of whom have used the tool to surveil journalists.