Military-grade spyware licensed by an Israeli firm to governments for tracking terrorists and criminals was used in attempted and successful hacks of 37 smartphones belonging to journalists, human rights activists, and business executives.
Private Israeli spyware used to hack cellphones of journalists, activists worldwide
For anything to do with real ‘monitoring’ of Internet abuse, it would have to have full time monitoring inside all the facilities engaged
By Jim W. Dean
NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware, licensed to governments
around the globe, can infect phones without a click
[ Editor’s Note: If any computer software is presented as a tool against bad actors only, you can be assured that is a charade. To accept such a guarantee from any entity known for having a long history of broken promises is incompetence to the level of aiding and abetting its abuse. ‘Thy name is Israel sayeth the horde’.
For anything to do with real ‘monitoring’ of Internet abuse, it would have to have full time monitoring inside all the facilities engaged, access to code information to ferret out back doors in the product, and the ability to lie detector key personnel on a regular basis to verify that they are complying with the agreement.
If anyone thinks this is a naive idea, I would remind them there is a very old saying is certain lines of security work, ‘Trust no one’. The was not invented by mean people, but experienced practical ones.
VT considers itself a member of that group as we have been on the short end of the ‘monitoring stick’ a number of times, the most celebrated being our catching the Army Cyberwarfare command hacking us.
Our punishment for that was not public, but was done semi-privately at a wedding on the Ft. Hachucha base where the commander was asked in front of offficer witnesses ‘why was the cyber command was hacking VT’. He gave no answer but left the event immediately.
I would pose that not even an attempt was made to do due any Pegasus monitoring for the dangers it carried for ferreting out ‘insider abuse’ of the software.
Congress has shown zero interest in watching the watchers due to not wanting to kiss off campaign donation support from the major entities involved. If anyone has ever seen any real political support for reform in this area please let me know in the comments… Jim W. Dean ]
It also included two women close to murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to an investigation by The Washington Post and 16 media partners.
The phones appeared on a list of more than 50,000 numbers that are concentrated in countries known to engage in surveillance of their citizens and also known to have beenclients of the Israeli firm, NSO Group, a worldwide leader in the growing and largely unregulated private spyware industry, the investigation found.
The list does not identify who put the numbers on it, or why, and it is unknown how many of the phones were targeted or surveilled. But forensic analysis of the 37 smartphones shows that many display a tight correlation between time stamps associated with a number on the list and the initiationof surveillance, in some cases as brief as a few seconds.