FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist  Chat Chat  UsergroupsUsergroups  CalendarCalendar RegisterRegister   ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Israeli Pegasus 3 spyware enabled Saudis to kill Khashoggi?

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    9/11, 7/7 & the War on Freedom Forum Index -> 9/11 & 7/7 Truth News
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
TonyGosling
Editor
Editor


Joined: 25 Jul 2005
Posts: 16803
Location: St. Pauls, Bristol, England

PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2019 12:36 am    Post subject: Israeli Pegasus 3 spyware enabled Saudis to kill Khashoggi? Reply with quote

WhatsApp voice calls used to inject Israeli spyware on phones
Messaging app discovers vulnerability that has been open for weeks
https://www.ft.com/content/4da1117e-756c-11e9-be7d-6d846537acab

WhatsApp said teams of engineers had worked around the clock to close the vulnerability © FT montage/Dreamstime

Mehul Srivastava in Tel Aviv MAY 13, 2019 Print this page335
A vulnerability in the messaging app WhatsApp has allowed attackers to inject commercial Israeli spyware on to phones, the company and a spyware technology dealer said.

WhatsApp, which is used by 1.5bn people worldwide, discovered in early May that attackers were able to install surveillance software on to both iPhones and Android phones by ringing up targets using the app’s phone call function. 

The malicious code, developed by the secretive Israeli company NSO Group, could be transmitted even if users did not answer their phones, and the calls often disappeared from call logs, said the spyware dealer, who was recently briefed on the WhatsApp hack.

WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, is too early into its own investigations of the vulnerability to estimate how many phones were targeted using this method, said a person familiar with the issue.

As late as Sunday, as WhatsApp engineers raced to close the loophole, a UK-based human rights lawyer’s phone was targeted using the same method. 

Researchers at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab said they believed that the spyware attack on Sunday was linked to the same vulnerability that WhatsApp was trying to patch.


How attackers used WhatsApp vulnerability to spy on phones


NSO’s flagship product is Pegasus, a program that can turn on a phone’s microphone and camera, trawl through emails and messages and collect location data.

NSO advertises its products to Middle Eastern and western intelligence agencies, and says Pegasus is intended for governments to fight terrorism and crime. NSO was recently valued at $1bn in a leveraged buyout that involved the UK private equity fund Novalpina Capital.

In the past, human rights campaigners in the Middle East have received text messages over WhatsApp that contained links that would download Pegasus to their phones.

WhatsApp said teams of engineers had worked around the clock in San Francisco and London to close the vulnerability. It began rolling out a fix to its servers on Friday last week, WhatsApp said. All users should update to the latest version of WhatsApp, which was issued on Monday, the company said.

“This attack has all the hallmarks of a private company known to work with governments to deliver spyware that reportedly takes over the functions of mobile phone operating systems,” the company said. “We have briefed a number of human rights organisations to share the information we can, and to work with them to notify civil society.”

WhatsApp disclosed the issue to the US Department of Justice last week, according to a person familiar with the matter. A justice department spokesman declined to comment.

NSO said it had carefully vetted customers and investigated any abuse. Asked about the WhatsApp attacks, NSO said it was investigating the issue.

“Under no circumstances would NSO be involved in the operating or identifying of targets of its technology, which is solely operated by intelligence and law enforcement agencies,” the company said. “NSO would not, or could not, use its technology in its own right to target any person or organisation, including this individual [the UK lawyer].”

The UK lawyer, who declined to be identified, has helped a group of Mexican journalists and government critics and a Saudi dissident living in Canada sue NSO in Israel, alleging that the company shares liability for any abuse of its software by clients.

John Scott-Railton, a senior researcher at Citizen Lab, said the attack had failed. “We had a strong suspicion that the person’s phone was being targeted, so we observed the suspected attack, and confirmed that it did not result in infection,” said Mr Scott-Railton. “We believe that the measures that WhatsApp put in place in the last several days prevented the attacks from being successful.”

Recommended

The Big Read
Israel’s NSO: the business of spying on your iPhone
Other lawyers working on the cases have been approached by people pretending to be potential clients or donors, who then try and obtain information about the ongoing lawsuits, the Associated Press reported in February.

“It’s upsetting but not surprising that my team has been targeted with the very technology that we are raising concerns about in our lawsuits,” said Alaa Mahajne, a Jerusalem-based lawyer who is handling lawsuits from the Mexican and Saudi citizens. “This desperate reaction to hamper our work and silence us itself shows how urgent the lawsuits are, as we can see that the abuses are continuing.”

On Tuesday, NSO will also face a legal challenge to its ability to export its software, which is regulated by the Israeli ministry of defence.

Amnesty International, which identified an attempt to hack into the phone of one its researchers, is backing a group of Israeli citizens and civil rights group in a filing in Tel Aviv asking the defence ministry to cancel NSO’s export licence. 

“NSO Group sells its products to governments who are known for outrageous human rights abuses, giving them the tools to track activists and critics. The attack on Amnesty International was the final straw,” said Danna Ingleton, deputy director of Amnesty Tech.


When cyber criminals strike


“The Israeli Ministry of Defence has ignored mounting evidence linking NSO Group to attacks on human rights defenders. As long as products like Pegasus are marketed without proper control and oversight, the rights and safety of Amnesty International’s staff and that of other activists, journalists and dissidents around the world is at risk.”

Additional reporting by Kadhim Shubber in Washington

_________________
www.lawyerscommitteefor9-11inquiry.org
www.rethink911.org
www.patriotsquestion911.com
www.actorsandartistsfor911truth.org
www.mediafor911truth.org
www.pilotsfor911truth.org
www.mp911truth.org
www.ae911truth.org
www.rl911truth.org
www.stj911.org
www.v911t.org
www.thisweek.org.uk
www.abolishwar.org.uk
www.elementary.org.uk
www.radio4all.net/index.php/contributor/2149
http://utangente.free.fr/2003/media2003.pdf
"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung
https://37.220.108.147/members/www.bilderberg.org/phpBB2/


Last edited by TonyGosling on Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:23 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website MSN Messenger
TonyGosling
Editor
Editor


Joined: 25 Jul 2005
Posts: 16803
Location: St. Pauls, Bristol, England

PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2019 12:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

UK rights advocate co-owns firm whose spyware is 'used to target dissidents'
Exclusive: Yana Peel co-owns NSO Group that licensed Pegasus software to authoritarian regimes
https://www.theguardian.com/law/2019/jun/14/yana-peel-uk-rights-advoca te-serpentine-nso-spyware-pegasus

Jon Swaine in New York and Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Washington

Fri 14 Jun 2019 14.07 BST Last modified on Mon 17 Jun 2019 16.09 BST

A leading human rights campaigner and head of a prestigious London art gallery is the co-owner of an Israeli cyberweapons company whose software has allegedly been used by authoritarian regimes to spy on dissidents, the Guardian can reveal.

Yana Peel, the chief executive of the Serpentine Galleries and a self-proclaimed champion of free speech, co-owns NSO Group, a $1bn (£790m) Israeli tech firm, according to corporate records in the US and Luxembourg.

NSO is the subject of multiple ongoing lawsuits and has been criticised by human rights groups, including Amnesty International, which has asked Israel’s ministry of defence to revoke the company’s export licences.

However, Peel, who has declared the Serpentine a “safe space for unsafe ideas” and served as a judge for international freedom-of-expression awards, defended her stake in NSO, which she has held since February. She described criticism of the company as “misinformed”.

People view an Emma Kunz exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery earlier this year.
Facebook Twitter Pinterest
People view an Emma Kunz exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery earlier this year. Photograph: Guy Bell/Rex/Shutterstock
Human rights groups, activists, and surveillance experts have accused NSO of licensing its powerful Pegasus software to countries, including Saudi Arabia, that have used it to target individuals, hack into their phones, and monitor their communications.

Sign up to the Art Weekly email
Read more
Lawsuits against NSO allege the technology was used to target dissidents and their associates, including a friend of the Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last year.

Amnesty’s intervention followed a separate allegation that Pegasus was used in an attempted attack onthe mobile phone of a staff member.

NSO has not commented on the claims but promised to investigate all “credible allegations of misuse”.

The company was taken over earlier this year by Novalpina Capital, a London-based private equity firm co-founded by Peel’s husband, Stephen. Novalpina took a majority of NSO shares, and NSO’s Israeli founders hold a minority stake.

Stephen Peel resigned from the board of Global Witness after the deal was announced because of the human rights group’s concerns over the “potential for the abuse of surveillance technology”.

While it was assumed Stephen Peel and his two fellow founders owned Novalpina Capital – and therefore ultimately own a controlling stake in NSO Group – corporate records show Yana Peel holds a one-third stake in Novalpina.

The allegations against NSO contrast sharply with the public persona of Yana Peel, who is a fixture of London’s art and fashion world.

In articles and talks, Peel has celebrated the work of activists such as the dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. Last year, she judged Index on Censorship’s Freedom of Expression awards, which honoured the work of an Egyptian human rights group that was targeted by cyber-attacks.

Asked about her ownership of Novalpina, Yana Peel told the Guardian in a statement: “The Peel family has an investment in Novalpina. I have no involvement in the operations or decisions of Novalpina, which is managed by my husband, Stephen Peel, and his partners.”

She said there had been no attempt to conceal her co-ownership but declined to discuss any of the allegations against NSO, after saying the Guardian was “quite misinformed” about the firm’s technology.

“Throughout my entire adult life I have campaigned in public and private for free speech and defence of human rights. This is something I feel very strongly about and these values guide decisions in all aspects of my life and work,” she said.

But alleged targets of NSO’s technology, which has been described as having capabilities to rival those of government spy agencies, such as the US National Security Agency, have decried the alleged use of such powerful technology against them.

One person who works in human rights and was allegedly targeted with the company’s spyware spoke to the Guardian on the condition of anonymity. They said being attacked by Pegasus was “the worst kind of loss of privacy”.

“We are not only talking about access to private communication: the attackers have access to the victims’ innermost thoughts. It is like sitting in someone’s brain,” they said. “What is even more scary is how the private information will be used.”

At the time of Novalpina’s takeover, NSO was hailed as a company that “helps government intelligence and law enforcement agencies prevent and investigate terrorism and crime to save lives” through its use of “cyber intelligence and analytics”.

NSO, whose founders are reportedly veterans of Israel’s military and intelligence services, has argued its software is necessary to combat the use of encrypted applications such as Signal and WhatsApp by terrorists and criminals.

John Scott-Railton, a senior researcher at the independent research group Citizen Lab, at the University of Toronto, said: “Of course governments need to be technologically empowered to investigate tough criminal targets. But if you sell sophisticated spying technology to unaccountable and repressive security services, they are going to abuse it. Is NSO taking the problem seriously? They say so, yet their products continue to be implicated in abuses.”

NSO spyware was revealed in May to be infecting phones via the messaging service WhatsApp, leaving engineers at its owner, Facebook, scrambling to secure the app.

Alleged victims have emerged in several countries. Omar Abdulaziz, a Saudi dissident based in Canada, alleges in a lawsuit filed in Israel that Saudi spies used NSO software to hack his phone and access his conversations with Khashoggi, who was later murdered by government operatives.

Omar Abdulaziz.
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Omar Abdulaziz. Photograph: The Washington Post/Getty Images
A group of Mexican activists and journalists is also suing NSO in Israel. They allege Mexican authorities targeted their phones with Pegasus after paying NSO $32m to licence the software.

Panama’s government used NSO software to spy on opposition politicians, judges and journalists, according to testimony from a whistleblower filed to a court in Florida.

And Ahmed Mansoor, an award-winning human rights activist based in the United Arab Emirates, intercepted an alleged hacking attempt on his phone with Pegasus in 2016. He was later arrested and sentenced to 10 years in prison for criticising the Emirati regime on social media.

NSO claimed its internal controls were more robust than at rival firms. Decisions to take on clients were reviewed by the Israeli government, and by an internal ethics committee that NSO said was comprised of independent experts who may veto potential customers. NSO declined to say who was on the committee.

The firm said it took a country’s human rights record into account when it made licensing decisions, but it declined to answer any questions about its alleged work with Saudi Arabia, a known violator of human rights, because it said it was barred from identifying clients.

“This technology helps prevent terrorist attacks, stop drug and sex trafficking rings, and rescue kidnapped children, and it is licensed to government intelligence and law enforcement agencies for use on an extremely small scale and only for the prevention or investigation of terror and crime,” an NSO spokesperson said.

“If there is risk or suspicion of the products being used for anything else, we investigate it and take the appropriate actions, including suspending or terminating a contract.”

When Novalpina Capital’s purchase of NSO was announced in February, it was seen as a controversial move by Stephen Peel, a Cambridge-educated financier who rowed for Great Britain at the 1988 Olympics. On resigning from Global Witness, he promised to ensure that NSO “followed the highest governance practices”.

While his public role at Novalpina put him in the spotlight, corporate filings in Luxembourg show that well before the February takeover, Stephen Peel transferred his stake in NSO’s parent company to his wife.

NSO’s corporate structure is complicated, involving more than a dozen vehicles across international jurisdictions, including Cyprus, the Cayman Islands and the US.

Born in the former Soviet Union, Yana Peel moved to Canada with her family as a young girl and was raised outside Toronto. After graduating from McGill University in Quebec, where she read Russian, she won a scholarship for postgraduate study at the London School of Economics.

Peel was then employed by Goldman Sachs, where she has said she worked with Israeli technology companies. She told the Guardian that work was “completely unrelated” to Novalpina’s takeover of NSO.

Having moved from international finance to the elite art world, Peel counts Michael Bloomberg – the Serpentine’s chairman – as a friend and mentor. A spokeswoman for Bloomberg declined to comment on Peel’s part-ownership of NSO.

_________________
www.lawyerscommitteefor9-11inquiry.org
www.rethink911.org
www.patriotsquestion911.com
www.actorsandartistsfor911truth.org
www.mediafor911truth.org
www.pilotsfor911truth.org
www.mp911truth.org
www.ae911truth.org
www.rl911truth.org
www.stj911.org
www.v911t.org
www.thisweek.org.uk
www.abolishwar.org.uk
www.elementary.org.uk
www.radio4all.net/index.php/contributor/2149
http://utangente.free.fr/2003/media2003.pdf
"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung
https://37.220.108.147/members/www.bilderberg.org/phpBB2/
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website MSN Messenger
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    9/11, 7/7 & the War on Freedom Forum Index -> 9/11 & 7/7 Truth News All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You can attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group