FBI almost used infamous Pegasus hack tool in criminal investigations: report

According a new report from the New York Times. It is a tool that can basically steal someone’s phone content.

The FBI previously said it had considered using the tool created by Israeli spyware firm NSO in order to counter bad actors. But apparently the office had other plans. In fact, the FBI had made detailed plans for using the spyware and how it would be deployed in investigations.

Citing internal FBI documents and court records, the Time wrote:

FBI officials lobbied in late 2020 and the first half of 2021 to deploy the hacking tools — made by Israeli spyware firm NSO — in its own criminal investigations. Officials have developed advanced plans to brief bureau leaders and have developed guidelines for federal prosecutors on how the FBI’s use of hacking tools should be disclosed during criminal proceedings.

It is not yet clear who the FBI intended to use the tool on, but the Time reported that he only abandoned the idea of ​​using it once stories of other governments abusing the tool became public in 2021.

The fact that the FBI purchased and considered using the tool is concerning to privacy-conscious people. Imagine the consequences of law enforcement having unrestricted access to people’s phones.

The Pegasus tool can be installed remotely without the target have to do as much as click on a link. Then the hacker has access to everything on your phone, such as texts, photos, and emails. He can even seemingly remote turn on the microphone or camera without the knowledge of the target.

It is hard to imagine a world where we would want the government to have this tool at its disposal.

Mark M. Gagnon