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Anya Sarkisova

Israel Allowed Baku to Use Its Spyware in Armenia, Says Expert

Regarding recent claims that Israeli manufactured Pegasus spyware targeted journalists and civil society activists in Armenia during and after the 2020 Karabakh war, information security expert Samvel Martirosyan believes Baku was behind the attacks.

On May 25, Access Now published a study claiming that the Apple devices of twelve individuals in Armenia were targeted with Pegasus spyware at various times between October 2020 and December 2022.

“This is the first documented evidence of the use of Pegasus spyware in an international war context,” according to the study.

These include Anna Naghdalyan, a former Armenia Foreign Ministry Spokesperson and current NGO worker, and two RFE/RL’s Armenian Service journalists, and a former Human Rights Defender of Armenia.

Martirosyan claimed Baku spent half a million dollars to target Naghdalyan’s   phone. He told Hetq it was unlikely that Armenian authorities would have spent such an amount to acquire the data of the MFA spokesperson's phone.

“During the war, this also means the Israeli government officially allowed Azerbaijan to use cyber weapons in Armenia," Martirosyan said.

 Access Now concedes that it’s unaware of any technical evidence suggesting that Armenia has ever been a Pegasus user. 

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