A coalition of digital defense groups, NGOs, and human rights organizations identified at least 12 cases of Israeli spyware used in Armenia. The NSO Group Pegasus technology targeted Armenian officials, journalists, and organizers. One case involved reporters at a U.S. government-funded news organization. One researcher noted that the evidence uncovered thus far is just “the tip of the iceberg.”
Pegasus allows hackers to record calls, intercept messages, and turn cell phones into mobile listening devices. NSO Group, the Israeli company producing the spyware, was blacklisted by the U.S. regarding human rights concerns. The company responded to these accusations by reaffirming Pegasus is only used to fight terrorism and crime. Researchers believe Azerbaijan is the likely culprit for spying activity. Armenia and Azerbaijan have engaged in several wars over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh territory for years. A 2021 Amnesty investigation revealed the Azerbaijan government used Pegasus against domestic opponents. Armenia was also found by Alphabet’s Google to have employed Predator spyware in the past.