“The Kingdom of Morocco strongly condemns the persistent false, massive and malicious media campaign,” the statement said. The government said it “rejects these false and unfounded allegations, and challenges their peddlers ... to provide any tangible and material evidence in support of their surreal stories.”
The consortium identified the possible targets from a leaked list of more than 50,000 cellphone numbers obtained by the Paris-based journalism nonprofit Forbidden Stories and the human rights group Amnesty International.
Consortium members said they were able to link more than 1,000 numbers on the list with individuals. Most were in Mexico and the Middle East.
While a phone number’s presence in the data does not mean an attempt was made to hack a device, the consortium said it believed the data indicated potential targets of NSO’s government clients.
Also on the list were phone numbers in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Morocco and Rwanda, as well as ones for several Arab royal family members, heads of state and prime ministers, the consortium reported.
The Paris prosecutor's office is investigating alleged use of the spyware, and French experts have called for greater security for cell phones of prominent officials.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex said Wednesday that the president “ordered a series of investigations," but said it was too early to comment or announce any new security measures or other action without knowing “exactly what happened.”
NSO Group denied that it ever maintained “a list of potential, past or existing targets.” It called the Forbidden Stories report “full of wrong assumptions and uncorroborated theories.”
The source of the leak — and how it was authenticated -- was not disclosed.