Tech Xplore reports that activists, journalists, and politicians around the world have been spied on using cellphone malware developed by a private Israeli firm, igniting fears of widespread privacy and rights abuses. The use of the software, called Pegasus and developed by Israel’s NSO group, was reported on by the Washington Post, the Guardian, Le Monde, and other news outlets who collaborated on an investigation into a data leak. The leak was of a list of up to 50,000 phone numbers believed to have been identified as people of interest by clients of NSO since 2016, the reports said. Not all of those numbers were subsequently hacked, and the news outlets with access to the leak said more details about those who were compromised would be released in coming days. Among the numbers on the list are those of journalists for media organizations around the world including Agence France-Presse, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, The New York Times, Al Jazeera, France 24, Radio Free Europe, Mediapart, El País, the Associated Press, Le Monde, Bloomberg, the Economist, Reuters, and Voice of America, the Guardian said. Among the numbers found on the list were two belonging to women close to Saudi-born journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered by a Saudi hit squad in 2018. The list also included the number of a Mexican freelance journalist who was later murdered at a carwash. His phone was never found and it was not clear if it had been hacked. The Washington Post said numbers on the list also belonged to heads of state and prime ministers, members of Arab royal families, diplomats, and politicians, as well as activists and business executives. The Guardian wrote that the investigation suggests “widespread and continuing abuse” of Pegasus, which NSO says is intended for use against criminals and terrorists.