Friday Wrap-up: The Pegasus project and SOCAR dismissals

Life in Azerbaijan’s Digital Autocracy: ‘They Want to be in Control of Everything’

This week we published an article by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) which investigates the Pegasus project in-depth and illustrates how Azerbaijani journalists became victims of the project’s cyber- surveillance.

For the first time, forensic evidence shows that powerful Israeli spyware from notorious cyber-surveillance company NSO Group, was used against Azerbaijani journalists. More than 200 names appeared on a leaked list of suspected targets.

Pegasus is a sophisticated piece of spyware with frightening capabilities. It can record phone calls and read text messages, access photographs and passwords, track GPS data, and secretly make audio and video recordings. Without the tiniest signal to indicate that anything is amiss, Pegasus can transmit all of this to its secret operators. The tool was developed by NSO Group, an Israeli cyber-surveillance company, which appears to have supplied it to Azerbaijan, one of the most autocratic governments in the world.

OCCRP editors talked to Khadija Ismayilova, Azerbaijan’s most renowned investigative journalist and whose mobile phone had been infected by Pegasus for more than two years.

You can read Ismayilova’s story and rest of the article here.


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