Mobile apps on the screen of a smartphone. (AFP/FILE)
Mobile apps on the screen of a smartphone. (AFP/FILE)

Canadian lab says Amnesty’s technique in digging up Pegasus hack is ‘sound’

In a review, Citizen Lab found “Amnesty International’s core forensic methods for analysing devices to determine that they have been infected with NSO Group spyware are sound”
PUBLISHED ON JUL 19, 2021 11:48 PM IST

A multidisciplinary laboratory at University of Toronto has verified the methods used by Amnesty International in flagging phones that were infected with the Israeli-made spyware Pegasus that was reportedly used in several countries, including India.

A release from Citizen Lab, based at University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, said Amnesty International and the non-profit journalism organisation Forbidden Stories requested it to undertake “an independent peer review of a sample of their forensic evidence and their general forensic methodology”.

In their review, Citizen Lab found “Amnesty International’s core forensic methods for analysing devices to determine that they have been infected with NSO Group spyware are sound”.

Citizen Lab was provided with iTunes back-ups of several devices and a separate methodology brief. “No additional context or information about the devices or the investigation was provided to us,” it noted.

It “independently validated” the methodology that “correctly identified infections with NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware within four iTunes back-ups”.

Citizen Lab’s own research has “independently arrived at a number of the same key findings as Amnesty International’s analysis”.

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