Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has ordered further examinations into the use of Pegasus spyware to hack the phones of Israeli citizens, according to local media.
The move came after Bennett was told that Israeli police “only tried to spy on three” of 26 individuals, who police sought to hack their phones, Haaretz newspaper reported.
The Israeli premier was presented with information that “police only managed to successfully hack one of their phones," the daily said.
According to Channel 12, police had obtained a court approval to use of the Pegasus spyware against the three people.
In January, Israeli website Calcalist revealed that police used Pegasus without judicial orders to spy on 26 Israeli citizens suspected of criminal cases.
The website said that police used the program to hack the phones of protest leaders against former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The Pegasus spyware allows its operators to hack mobiles by exploiting security vulnerabilities in the Android and iPhone mobile operating systems. It was developed by the Israeli private company NSO, based in the city of Herzliya, which develops programs for electronic warfare and digital espionage.
The spyware caused worldwide scandals after the discovery of spying cases against politicians, government officials, journalists and activists in different countries.