Privacy at peril for Mexican journos, lawyers

By Balamurugan Selvaraj Published on Jun 20, 2017 03:09 PM IST

 

There is no privacy any more. This is not just a statement but a fact. With the emergence of digital era, privacy has become major concern for those in the media, and law professionals. A recent report revealed by Citizen Lab Security Researchers has shocked the world.

According to the report, which was out yesterday, the Mexican government had used NSO hacking tools and exploits to spy on journalists, lawyers and even a minor child. Over 76 messages with links to Mexican journalists, legal professionals, who were working on the investigations of corruption by the Mexican President and authorities were hacked.

"In the past five years it has become increasingly clear that civil society is under threat from the misuse of powerful spyware tools exclusively sold to governments," researchers wrote in their blog post.

The security firm also pointed out the fraudulent action made by Mexican government, which bought the spy tools from Israeli hacking group NSO, with the deal highlighting the usage of those tools.

According to NSO's agreement, the Mexican government can use those tools to fight terrorists and criminals. But the government had violated the agreement and used those spy tools against its own citizens.

Around 76 messages with links to the Pegasus exploit has been sent to journalists, lawmakers uniquely. As soon as the victims open the message, the exploit starts to spread and infect the smart phone to access the device resources.

Exploit Pegasus was reported earlier last year by Citizen Lab. They released a report uncovering the information about United Arab Emirates (UAE) activist Ahmed attacked with the same malware. In addition to that, another spyware, named 'The Trident', was found by researchers, which infected the activist's iPhone via malicious link through text message.

Besides this, in countries like Mexico journalists are still vulnerable. If you're a regular follower of international news, you would have heard about the recent statistics on journalist killings. In this report, Mexico stands first, where safety of journalists are said to be miserable.