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Pegasus Spyware Targets Togolese Journalists' Mobile Devices

An investigation into 2021 intrusions uncovered multiple infections on the phones of journalists in the African country.

Dark Reading Staff, Dark Reading

January 26, 2024

1 Min Read
Person with computer and mobile phone hacking with the PEGASUS program
Source: Mario Martija Sevilla via Alamy Stock Photo

Cyberattackers have installed the Pegasus spyware on the phones of multiple journalists in the African country of Togo.

According to Reporters Without Borders, the spyware was used by Togo's government until 2021, and there is evidence of at least 23 spyware intrusions — between Feb. 1 and July 10 in that year — on one of the phones used by Loïc Lawson, the publisher of Flambeau des Démocrates, an independent weekly paper in Togo. 

Freelance journalist Anani Sossou was the target of a similar intrusion on his phone on Oct. 25, 2021.

Three other Togolese journalists — Ferdinand Ayité, Luc Abaki, and Carlos Ketohou — were on the list of 50,000 potential Pegasus targets that were identified by an international consortium’s investigation in 2021.

Pegasus spyware, produced by the Israeli company NSO Group, allows the controller to access and extract whatever they want from an exploited mobile device, and can intercept and transmit messages, emails, media files, passwords, and detailed location information without a user’s knowledge or interaction. It has been used to monitor other journalists and politicians.

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Dark Reading Staff

Dark Reading

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