Apple has warned two Ugandan journalists and an opposition figure that their iPhones may have been hacked by a state-sponsored surveillance entity, the targeted people said on Saturday.
Apple told the targeted journalists last week that at least one attack appeared to have employed spyware from an Israeli company blacklisted by the United States.
According to The New York Times, “The latest revelations add Uganda to the list of countries where journalists, human rights activists and lawyers have been targeted using the sophisticated Israeli-made spyware, known as Pegasus.”
The disclosure of the Apple warning notices to the three Ugandans came one day after reports that American diplomats in the East African nation also had their iPhones hacked with Pegasus.
Those diplomats were the first American government officials known to have been targeted by the Pegasus tool, which is designed to sneak into a user’s phone and give the invader access to its contents without being detected.
In recent years, Uganda President Yoweri Museveni’s government has tightened censorship and expanded its digital surveillance capabilities, particularly against opposition figures.
Other news outlets reported that besides journalists Canary Mugume and Raymond Mujuni a number of Ugandan investigative journalists have also been targeted by Pegasus, which is manufactured by Israel’s spyware firm, NSO Group.
Mugume of NBS Television, and Mujuni of NTV Television have extensively reported on these clampdowns and the tensions that gripped Uganda before and after the vote.
- A Tell report