At least 50 U.S. government employees are suspected or confirmed to have been targeted with commercial spyware that hacks smartphones to spy on their owners, the White House said Monday, APA reports citing NBC News.
A White House official said on a phone call that the number of known victims who work for the U.S. spans “at least 10 countries on multiple continents.” The White House requested that the official not be named as part of the terms of the call.
“Our efforts to identify additional targeted personnel continue, and we obviously cannot rule out even more instances,” the official said.
The White House also announced that President Joe Biden would sign an executive order aimed at curtailing spyware abuse by setting guidelines for the companies that produce it. The official said the order gives the White House the power to ban a company’s software across all federal agencies if it is found to have used spyware to target activists, curb political dissent or spy on Americans.