According to investigations by the Washington Post and other media partners, the communications of at least 37 journalists and human rights activists were intercepted using software provided by NSO Group, an Israeli company known for developing ultra-sophisticated spyware.
Apparently, the NSO Group routinely collaborates with government agencies around the world, providing the tools needed to intercept communications by terrorist groups, organized crime, and so on. However, the choice of targets is left exclusively to the customers, who can be entities associated with oppressive regimes, rather concerned with consolidating power by suppressing any form of dissent and freedom of expression.
Picking up clues against at least one of NSO Group’s customers, two of the infiltrated phones using Israeli software belonged to women, close contacts of Jamal Khashoggi, the Israeli journalist brutally killed and cut right at the Saudi embassy in Turkey, after he fell into the displeasure of the Saudi royal family. One of the people is Khashoggi’s wife, her smartphone being monitored for months before the murder.
Called the Pegasus Project, the investigation covers several countries and thousands of phones potentially targeted by NSO spyware. However, it seems that not all 37 phones were compromised, 14 of them being targeted by unsuccessful attacks. However, for some devices, the infection occurred without the victim accessing any links or voluntary software installation, with ultra-sophisticated software taking advantage of existing device vulnerabilities to facilitate infection.
The NSO target list included at least 67 people, including both prime ministers and heads of state. NSO Group’s “track record” includes other high-profile targets, such as the infiltration of Jeff Bezos’ phone, the former CEO of Amazon. The Israeli company is being targeted by numerous lawsuits for contributing to the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, respectively by numerous journalists and activists directly targeted for monitoring using the company’s tools.
Source: Go4IT by www.go4it.ro.
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