Israeli-made spyware called Pegasus, developed by technology company NSO Group, has sparked controversy after it was reported that the spyware was used for spying on its own citizens, including several public figures, politicians, businessmen, officials, and activists.

Pegasus has long been linked to an international scandal after it was allegedly used by governments all over the world to spy on journalists, activists, and even heads of state. Now, Israel's police minister formed a cabinet-level inquiry into reports that it had been used to spy on Israelis.

According to Al Jazeera, Pegasus is "a spyware that can infiltrate a mobile phone and harvest personal and location data, and can control the phone's microphones and cameras without the user's knowledge or permission." It was designed to bypass detection and mask its activity.

The Guardian reported that the Calcalist newspaper said in an unsourced report that the spyware was used to "phish for intelligence even before any investigation had been opened against the targets, and without judicial warrants." Its targets include former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's son Avner and several other political figures who are close to him, including individuals who provided evidence against Netanyahu in police investigations over corruption allegations.

CBN News reported that Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett called the reports "unacceptable in a democratic state." He argued, "These cyber tools are intended to fight terror, intended to fight crime, severe crime - they were not intended to be used against citizens."

The Prime Minister promised, "We will ensure to check the matter in a transparent, profound, and swift way. Because all of us, the citizens of the State of Israel, us the ministers of the government, to all systems, we all deserve answers."

Netanyahu called the scandal a "black day for the State of Israel" and warned of the "wide implications" of the spyware attack and said that it "concerns all citizens of the country - not right, not left, all citizens of the country without exception."

"Something inconceivable has happened here," Netanyahu lamented.

The Israeli publication that first reported on the Pegasus spyware attack described how police officials "illegally spied with the most aggressive tools in the world." It accused police officials of spying on their very own countrymen, who were described as "stripped naked...followed, listened to, had their most hidden secrets [exposed]."

One of the many victims of the Pegasus spyware attack was Netanyahu's former aide and now state witness Shlomi Filber, who was set to testify against the former Prime Minister in the coming days. Some analysts believe that if the allegations are true, it may be enough to cause the case to be thrown out of court.

Digital Rights Movement attorney Jonathan Klinger called the attack "unprecedented" and described it as "borderline on espionage and treason by an internal authority" and "highly problematic." He underscored how under Israel's law, it is "nearly impossible" to install spyware programs on the phones and devices of civilians, except for national security issues. He added that the collection of data was "immense and unprecedented" and all carried out "illegally" and "without any legal oversight."