The President of the Parliament, Roger Torrent, received a communication last weekend from the WhatsApp company confirming the attempt to hack his mobile phone in 2019, taking advantage of a security breach, with the Pegasus cyber espionage program. However, it is unclear whether such an attack was effective and whether the intrusion ultimately occurred or everything was attempted.
To determine it, a thorough forensic examination of the terminal would be necessary and the republican deputy changed his phone at that time because he began to give him problems, according to sources from the presidency of the Catalan Chamber when the spying attempt became known. Sources consulted indicate that they no longer have a mobile phone, so it cannot be found out in this way.
The director of public policy for WhatsApp in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, Niamh Sweeney, sent a message to the also leader of the Republican Esquerra on Saturday, as published today by The Guardian and El País and confirmed Revyuh. “Mr Torrent’s WhatsApp account was the target of an attempted unauthorized access to data and communications on the device,” says the letter. “The attackers tried to inject malicious code into Mr Torrent’s WhatsApp application,” it adds. In addition, it offers the collaboration of its company, whose European headquarters is based in Ireland, to collaborate. They keep records of the intrusion attempt on the smartphone.
The telecommunications and messaging company, owned by Facebook, details that the attack on Torrent – there were also other independence leaders – was due to a vulnerability known as CVE-2019-3568; an error that allows the virus of the Israeli company NSO Group – which only sells to governments and police forces – to be installed after simulating a missed voice call.
In addition to Torrent, an attempt was also made to infect the mobile phone of the Minister for Digital Policies and Public Administration, Jordi Puignero, the leader of the ERC in Barcelona and ex-counsellor of Accio Exterior, Relacions Institucionaless i Transparència, Ernest Maragall, the former CUP deputy Anna Gabriel, expatriate in Switzerland, the leader of the Consell per la Republica Sergi Miquel, or a leader of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), Jordi Domingo.
Torrent targeted the state from the outset and framed the espionage in a “dirty war against independence”, although the accusations were rejected by the government and it was assured that the NSO Group was not being worked with. However, an ex-worker of the Israeli company assured the American media Vice at that time that Spain has been a client of NSO since 2015.
In an institutional statement, the President of the Parliament announced that he would take legal and political action. For now, along with Maragall, he has referred the matter to international bodies such as the Council of Europe or the UN and his party has called for hearings of the ministers of Interior, Defense and Foreign in Parliament, in committees of the Catalan Chamber or is has asked the Congress of Deputies to create an investigative commission.
This week, almost certainly, the complaint announced by Torrent and Maragall against the former director of the National Intelligence Center (CNI), Felix Sanz Roldan.
Torrent knew the attack by the press, after an investigation by the Citizen Lab of the University of Toronto, which has a list of the attacks suffered by 1,400 people at that time, which would also include the founder of Amazon and owner of The Washington Post, Jeff Bezos.