Advanced spyware developed by Israeli technology company NSO Group was found on iPhones of at least nine US State Department employees.
The phones were hacked over the last several months and targeted US officials who were either based in Uganda or working on issues related to the country, according to Reuters, which first reported on the news and cited four sources familiar with the matter.
NSO Group did not have any evidence its tools were used, the report stated, but it plans to investigate. The company has said its system does not work on phones registered with US numbers starting with the +1 country code; however, the employee phones targeted in this case were reportedly registered with foreign numbers.
The State Department is working to determine who had access to the materials on these phones and how the breach occurred, CNN reported.
It has been one month since the US Commerce Department blacklisted Israeli firms, including NSO Group, for "engaging in activities that are contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States." In late November, Apple sued NSO Group and its parent company Q Cyber to hold it accountable for the surveillance and targeting of Apple users.
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