By Ahmet Gencturk
ANKARA (AA) – Finland on Friday said that the cellphones of its diplomats had been monitored via controversial Pegasus spyware, developed by a private Israeli firm.
The highly sophisticated malware infected users’ Apple or Android phones without their noticing and without any action on the user’s part, the Finnish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Without pointing out who specifically might have been behind the case, the ministry said that perpetrators might have been able to harvest data from the devices they monitored.
However, the ministry claimed that information transmitted by phone is public or classified at level four at maximum, which is the lowest level of classified information, adding that the information itself and its source may be subject to diplomatic confidentiality.
The ministry also said the infected devices were used by Finnish diplomats posted overseas, but did not say how many staff were targeted or in which locations.
A joint investigation by the ministry and other public agencies and stakeholders in fall/winter 2021–2022 found that the espionage is no longer active, the ministry said.
Last July, the Pegasus Project, a consortium of international media outlets, revealed a leaked list of some 50,000 phone numbers showing that some governments sought the Pegasus software, made by the Israeli NSO Group, to spy on people or mark them as prospective targets, whether inside or beyond their own borders.