Evidence that EU staff smartphones were compromised by an Israeli company’s spying software has been found, according to a letter from EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders to European lawmaker Sophie in ‘t Veld.

Reynders’ letter said he had been warned by Apple in 2021 that his iPhone may have been hacked with Pegasus.

Pegasus is a controversial tool developed and sold to government clients by Israeli surveillance firm NSO Group.

Apple’s Intel prompted an extensive investigation of professional and personal devices owned by EU staff. The investigation found “indicators of compromise” – a term used by security researchers to describe the existence of evidence showing a hack.

However, the investigation found no conclusive evidence that Reynders’ or EU staff phones were hacked, and the letter did not provide further details, although it said the investigation was still ongoing.

“It is impossible to attribute these indicators to a specific perpetrator with full certainty,” the letter said.

An NSO spokeswoman said that the company was willing to cooperate with an EU investigation. The NSO Group continues to distance itself from the series of human rights violations it is accused of.

“Our assistance is even more crucial, as there is no concrete proof so far that a breach occurred. Any illegal use by a customer targeting activists, journalists, etc., is considered a serious misuse,” the spokeswoman said.