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Excerpt: "An Israeli company that is a world leader in cyber warfare was found to help governments hack the iPhones of activists and journalists, including the United Arab Emirates, Mexico and likely Turkey, Israel, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Hungary and others."

Apple issued an urgent software update after the program was discovered. (photo: Graeme Robertson/Guardian UK)
Apple issued an urgent software update after the program was discovered. (photo: Graeme Robertson/Guardian UK)


Israeli Arms Dealer Selling Advanced Spying Tech to World’s Repressive Regimes

By teleSUR

28 August 16

 

NSO Group has exploited Apple vulnerabilities to disguise itself as Gmail, Facebook, WhatsApp, Skype, the Red Cross, CNN, Al Jazeera and the Pokemon Company to create malicious links.

n Israeli company that is a world leader in cyber warfare was found to help governments hack the iPhones of activists and journalists, including the United Arab Emirates, Mexico and likely Turkey, Israel, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Hungary and others.

Citizen Lab and Lookout found that the company, NSO Group, has exploited Apple vulnerabilities to disguise itself as Gmail, Facebook, WhatsApp, Skype, the Red Cross, CNN, Al Jazeera and the Pokemon Company to create malicious links.

Once a target clicks on the link, the company can read messages, record sounds, track locations and collect passwords.

Ahmed Mansoor, a human rights activist from the UAE, received a text message with one of the links and showed it to Citizen Lab. Mansoor had been victim of cyber attacks twice before.

Further investigation revealed that Mexican journalist Rafael Cabrera was also targeted by NSO Group after investigating Enrique Peña Nieto’s family. The resulting report cited other attacks linked back to the company, including in Kenya, Turkey and Qatar.

NSO Group, which is now owned by San Francisco-based private equity firm Francisco Partners Management LLC, wrote to the New York Times: “The company sells only to authorized governmental agencies, and fully complies with strict export control laws and regulations.” The spokesman said that its customers use its software lawfully.

After Citizen Lab informed Apple of the vulnerabilities, it released a new secure version of iOS 9.3.5 and encouraged users to update it. The version may not be safe from other vulnerabilities found by the FBI, which did not disclose them to Apple.

“The targeting of these activists and dissidents is a taste of what’s to come,” Citizen Lab researcher Bill Marczak told the New York Times. “What they’re facing today will be faced by ordinary users tomorrow.”


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Comments   

A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

 
+5 # Tigre1 2016-08-28 23:39
Maybe it's happening now already to ordinary folk. MY computer has a suspicious tag that floated in front of my eyes, with an annoying beep-beep-beep "suspicious activity detected" announcement. Can't really turn it off, either. Bastards.

So I've turned off the sound, and got around the announcement. Maybe the computer godlings don't like me much.
Which is good, my regard for the mysterious bastards isn't very high right now either.
I used to have a couple of acquaintances in the local FBI office. Maybe they know something...
 
 
+5 # tedrey 2016-08-29 08:01
Didn't an unnamed Israeli company hack the San Bernadino Apple iPhone for the FBI? Coincidence?
 

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