22:36 GMT25 July 2021
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    JOHANNESBURG (Sputnik) - The South African president's office is not commenting on reports that Cyril Ramaphosa's mobile phone was targeted by the Pegasus spyware, the official statement obtained by Sputnik said.

    "The Presidency has no comment on this matter", the statement read.

    On Sunday, a consortium of prominent media outlets in cooperation with several NGOs published the results of a joint investigation which claims that the Israeli NSO Group's software was used to hack smartphones of human rights activists, lawyers, journalists and business executives from across the globe. It can reportedly access cloud data, such as location, archived messages and photos.

    The phone numbers of over 50,000 prominent individuals worldwide may have been targeted for surveillance by state-linked clients of NSO Group, including phone numbers belonging to three presidents, 10 prime ministers and one king, the investigation revealed.

    Among the incumbent presidents on the list, apart from Ramaphosa, were France's Emmanuel Macron and Iraq's Barham Salih; among prime ministers — Pakistan's Imran Khan, Egypt's Mostafa Madbouly and Morocco's Saad-Eddine El Othmani. Former Belgian Prime Minister and current European Council President Charles Michel was also on the list. The only monarch named was King Mohammed VI of Morocco.

    NSO Group stated that the program was only sold to responsible governments to prevent terrorist attacks and other crimes.

    Tags:
    president, spyware, South Africa
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