(IP)- Spain's prime minister and defense minister's Mobile phones were infected by Pegasus spyware last year, the Spanish government has said on Monday.

Iran PressEurope: Mobile phones of the prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, and the defense minister, Margarita Robles, were infected last year with the Pegasus spyware that its manufacturers claim is available only to state agencies. 

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s mobile phone was breached twice in May 2021, and Defence Minister Margarita Robles’ device was targeted once the following month, Presidency Minister Félix Bolaños told reporters at a morning press conference. 

Bolaños said that technical reports by Spain's National Cryptologic Centre had evaluated the volume of data extracted from the two devices.

2.6 gigabytes of information was obtained from the Spanish prime minister's phone during the first attack and 130 megabytes during the second, while 9 gigabytes were stolen from the defense minister.

Israeli spyware used to spy on journalists, public figures

Unlike most spyware, Pegasus doesn't require its victims to unwittingly download it, for example, by opening an infected attachment or clicking a link.

It can infect iOS, Android, or BlackBerry phones without alerting their owners. Once installed, it allows NSO's clients to take control of a device, activate the camera and the microphone, see geolocation data and read the content of messages – even those sent via encrypted platforms like Telegram and WhatsApp. 

Pegasus' maker NSO says the software is not designed for mass surveillance but counterterrorism purposes.

The company, formed in 2011, says it only sells genuine government agencies and vets, clients for their human rights records.

However, it has been accused of helping facilitate authoritarianism. The Pegasus software has been used by countries including Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia, and Azerbaijan.


Read More: 

France: Macron changes phone due to Pegasus spyware

Pegasus spyware is used to hack US State Department phones