Carmen Aristegui was targeted with the Pegasus spyware in 2015 and 2016. In 2017, her phone was analyzed by the Canadian research group Citizen Lab and the findings were published in a report on cyber surveillance in Mexico called “Gobierno Espia”. Text messages that included malicious links associated with Pegasus were found on her phone. The report also revealed that several persons close to Aristegui had be targeted: her colleagees Sebastián Barragán et Rafael Cabrera and her 16-year-old son Emilio Aristegui.
Records of phone numbers which Forbidden Stories had access to show that three other people close to Aristegui were selected for surveillance in 2016: her sister Teresa Aristegui, her CNN producer Karina Maciel et her former assistant Sandra Nogales. Forbidden Stories were unable to analyze the phones to confirm the infections.
Who is she?
Carmen Aristegui is the most well-known investigative reporter in Mexico. She is known for her critical reporting on the Mexican government. In 2015, she was fired from the radio station Radio MVS after her segment “The White House of Enrique Peña Nieto” aired. The piece revealed the dubious conditions under which the President’s wife had acquired a seven-million-dollar villa. The house was in the name of a company that had won several public bidding thanks to the President.
In the wake of her dismissal, Aristegui founded her own news outlet called Aristegui Noticias. She kept investigating numerous issues, including a prostitution network led by Cuauhtémoc Gutiérrez, a politician who formerly headed the PRI, the country’s main political party.
She also host a news show called “Aristegui” on CNN in Spanish and on which receives Mexican and international political figures.
Being herself a victim of the Pegasus spyware, Aristegui has taken an interest in cybersurveillance. In 2017, she published the invoices allegedly paid by the army (SEDENA), the secret service (CISEN) and the general prosecutor’s office (FGR) for the update of the spyware.
"La casa blanca de Enrique Peña Nieto" Aristegui Noticias (2014)Read
"Red de prostitución de Gutiérrez de la Torre: puntos clave de la investigación" Aristegui Noticias (2016)Read
Mexican authorities did not answer Forbidden Stories’ questions on the surveillance of journalists. NSO Group did not answer Forbidden Stories’ questions on specific targets but said it “will continue to investigate all credible claims of misuse and take appropriate action based on the results of these investigations.”