The widow of a murdered Mexican journalist was targeted with Pegasus, a spyware product which can secretly access the contents of a phone and turn on its camera and microphone. 

The Associated Press reported on the Citizen Lab’s revelation that unknown operators tried to spy on Griselda Triana using Pegasus 10 days after her husband Javier Valdez’s murder in 2017. Triana received text messages that pretended to offer information about her husband’s death, but actually would have installed the spyware on her phone. 

There are 25 documented cases of abuse of Pegasus spyware in Mexico as of March 2019. NSO Group, the Israel-based company that makes Pegasus, has said that it only sells the spyware “to highly vetted intelligence and law enforcement agencies for the sole purpose of fighting terrorism and crime.” However, use of the company’s spyware against journalists and activists has been document by the Citizen Lab and other for more than two years in countries around the world. 

“I am not a criminal or a terrorist but I have been a target of spying because I was Javier’s partner,” Griselda Triana told the AP. “What reasons were there to spy on me? Neither I nor my family [are] criminals, and I am sure that I do not represent any danger to national security.”

Citizen Lab senior research fellow John Scott-Railton added: “We can add Griselda’s name to the growing list of family members of cartel-linked killings, and their advocates, who demanded justice and got targeted with Pegasus instead.”