Spy software designed by the Israeli firm NSO Group was used to spy on senior officials at the European Commission, the executive body of the EU.
According to Reuters's source information and supporting documentation, several high-ranking officials were targeted using the NSO Group's spyware.
The culprits behind the operation have not been identified yet.
Among those targeted was Didier Reynders, a senior Belgian statesman who has served as the European Justice Commissioner since 2019. At least four other commission staffers were also targeted.
The commission was prompted about the attack following messages from Apple issued to thousands of iPhone owners last November. The messages said that they were 'targeted by state-sponsored attackers.'
Last November, Apple filed a lawsuit against Israeli cyber firm NSO Group and its parent company OSY Technologies for allegedly targeting US Apple users with its Pegasus spyware.
The spyware acts through iPhone and Android mobile devices and lets it access messages, emails, photos, or even secretly record calls and activate microphones.
Reuters claims that the news of the targeting comes as the European Union is beginning to follow the United States in taking a harder look at spyware merchants like NSO.
The European Parliament is set to launch a committee of inquiry to investigate the use of surveillance software in European member states on April 19, according to Sophie in 't Veld, the EU lawmaker who championed the committee's creation.
The committee was formed after reports that senior opposition politicians in Poland had their phones hacked with Israeli spyware. Hungarian investigative journalists were also targeted with spyware.
Late last year, the US sanctioned NSO Group for' malicious cyber activities.' According to the US Department of Commerce, NSO Group 'developed and supplied spyware to foreign governments.'
In turn, the Israeli Ministry of Defense reduced the number of countries to which Israeli companies can export cyber tools.
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