Officials, journalists, and activists across Armenia were reported by Access Now, Citizen Lab, Amnesty International, CyberHUB-AM, and independent researcher Ruben Muradyan to have been targeted in at least 12 instances with the NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, Reuters reports.
Azerbaijan has been suspected to be behind the spyware operation due to conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh or Artsakh territory, with Amnesty's Donncha O'Cearbhaill noting "extensive evidence" showing that Pegasus had been used by Azerbaijan against its opponents. However, such allegations have been rejected by the Armenian Embassy in London.
"Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan made a strong public statement categorically rejecting the circulating information that the authorities used spyware against opponents and/or journalists," said the embassy in a statement, which also added that device compromise warnings have also been received by Pashinyan and his family.
Meanwhile, Armenia was previously reported by Google to have leveraged spyware against dissidents in the country.
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New attacks with the updated SysUpdate toolkit have been deployed by Chinese advanced persistent threat operation Budworm, also known as APT27, Emissary Panda, Bronze Union, Lucky Mouse, Iron Tiger, and Red Phoenix, against an Asian government and a Middle East-based telecommunications provider, reports The Hacker News.
Forty-five malicious NPM and PyPI packages have been deployed by threat actors to facilitate extensive data theft operations as part of a campaign that commenced on Sept. 12, according to BleepingComputer.