Pegasus used to target Thai Pro-Democracy Activists, claim Cybersecurity researchers

Cybersecurity researchers on Monday reported cases, where Thai activists were involved in the country’s pro-democracy protests, has their cell phones or other devices infected and attacked with government-sponsored spyware.

According to Gadgets 360, investigators of the Internet watchdog groups Citizen Lab, Thailand’s Internet Law Reform Dialogue, or iLaw, and Digital Reach said at least 30 individuals — including activists, scholars, and people working with civil society groups — were targeted by an unnamed government entity or entities for surveillance with Pegasus, spyware produced by the Israeli-based cybersecurity company NSO Group.

The reports from the two groups named many of those targeted and confirmed the earlier reports of the surveillance which John Scott-Railton of Citizen Lab said shows that governments have exploited their ability to buy technologies designed to fight crime and terrorism to spy on critics and other private citizens.

“Citizen Lab believes there is a fundamental challenge for civil society,” said John in an online presentation at a briefing in Bangkok.

The attacks on the individual’s devices span from October 2020 to November 2021, a timing “highly relevant to specific Thai political events” since they have taken place over the period of time when pro-democracy protests break out across the country.

“But Scott-Railton said Citizen Lab, which exposes digital espionage campaigns and insecure software, believed there was still an active Pegasus operator in Thailand,” a source as per Gadgets 360.


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