It has been reported in Spanish media that the government has sacked the country’s spy chief, Paz Esteban, following revelations that the Spanish intelligence service hacked the phones of leading Catalan separatists.
It is claimed that the country’s National Intelligence Centre (CNI) had been using the Pegasus spyware against the politicians including that of the regional president, Pere Aragonès.
Aragonès said the spying scandal was “dynamiting” attempts to find a negotiated solution to the Catalan independence crisis.
In a further twist media outlets have claimed that “an external power” had used the spyware to infect the mobiles of the prime minister and the defence minister.
The spyware, developed by an Israeli company, is named after Pegasus, the winged horse of Greek mythology operating a Trojan horse computer virus that can be sent “flying through the air” to infect mobile phones.
It is believed to capable of reading text messages, tracking calls, collecting passwords, location tracking, accessing the target device’s microphone and camera, and harvesting other information stored on apps.
Spain is just the latest in a long list of country´s where the spyware discovery has caused a storm, including Mexico, United Arab Emirates and India.
The Spanish Cabinet is expected to make an official announcement later today, Tuesday 10th May.
64-year-old Esteban became the first woman to head the CNI in July 2019.