Virtual Event: Threat Detection and Incident Response Summit - Watch Sessions
Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Tracking & Law Enforcement

Poland’s Tusk Calls Spyware Use ‘Crisis for Democracy’

Polish opposition leader Donald Tusk on Tuesday said reports the government spied on its opponents represented the country’s biggest “crisis for democracy” since the end of communism.

Polish opposition leader Donald Tusk on Tuesday said reports the government spied on its opponents represented the country’s biggest “crisis for democracy” since the end of communism.

A cyber-security watchdog last week said the Pegasus spyware had been used to target prominent opposition figures, with Polish media dubbing the scandal a “Polish Watergate”.

“This is unprecedented in our history,” former EU chief Tusk, who now heads the Civic Platform party, told reporters.

“This is the biggest, deepest crisis for democracy since 1989.”

Tusk also called for a parliamentary inquiry into allegations that Pegasus was used against Krzysztof Brejza, a member of his party who co-ordinated its 2019 election campaign.

Citizen Lab, a Canada-based cyber-security watchdog, said Pegasus had also been used against Roman Giertych, a lawyer involved in cases against the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, and Ewa Wrzosek, a prosecutor and opposition figure.

Smartphones targeted by Pegasus are essentially turned into pocket spying devices, allowing the user to read the target’s messages, look through their photos, track their location and even turn on their camera without them knowing.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

The malware, created by Israeli technology firm the NSO Group, was engulfed in controversy earlier this year after a collaborative investigation by several media outlets reported that governments used Pegasus to spy on activists, journalists, lawyers and politicians.

Polish media have likened the allegations to a “Polish Watergate” — referring to a scandal over political campaign dirty tricks that led to former US president Richard Nixon’s resignation in 1974.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said he had “no knowledge” of any wiretapping but added that, if it was confirmed, it could “potentially” turn out to be the work of foreign secret services.

Stanislaw Zaryn, spokesman for the ministry in charge of the secret services, said the allegations that Polish services “use these methods in operational work for political ends are false”.

He did not confirm or deny whether Poland had used Pegasus but said that “operational work” in Poland can only be carried out on request from the prosecutor general and after a court order.

Related: Google Says NSO Pegasus Zero-Click ‘Most Technically Sophisticated Exploit Ever Seen’

Written By

AFP 2023

Click to comment

Daily Briefing Newsletter

Subscribe to the SecurityWeek Email Briefing to stay informed on the latest threats, trends, and technology, along with insightful columns from industry experts.

SecurityWeek’s Threat Detection and Incident Response Summit brings together security practitioners from around the world to share war stories on breaches, APT attacks and threat intelligence.


Securityweek’s CISO Forum will address issues and challenges that are top of mind for today’s security leaders and what the future looks like as chief defenders of the enterprise.


Expert Insights

Related Content


No one combatting cybercrime knows everything, but everyone in the battle has some intelligence to contribute to the larger knowledge base.


The FBI dismantled the network of the prolific Hive ransomware gang and seized infrastructure in Los Angeles that was used for the operation.


The Hive ransomware website has been seized as part of an operation that involved law enforcement in 10 countries.


Spanish Court agreed to extradite Joseph James O’Connor to he U.S., who allegedly took part in the July 2020 hacking of Twitter accounts of...


US government reminds the public that a reward of up to $10 million is offered for information on cybercriminals, including members of the Hive...


Employees of Chinese tech giant ByteDance improperly accessed data from social media platform TikTok to track journalists in a bid to identify the source...


A hacker who reportedly posed as the CEO of a financial institution claims to have obtained access to the more than 80,000-member database of...

Application Security

Virtualization technology giant Citrix on Tuesday scrambled out an emergency patch to cover a zero-day flaw in its networking product line and warned that...