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Thread: Secretive Israeli Company Uses WhatsApp Voice Calls To Install Spyware On Phones

  1. #1

    Secretive Israeli Company Uses WhatsApp Voice Calls To Install Spyware On Phones

    With so much attention focused recently on constant consumer spying and privacy violations, erroneous or otherwise, by Amazon, Facebook and now Twitter, it is easy to forget that virtually other communication apps have the same purpose, and that's what one secretive Israeli company relied on when they used a vulnerability in the popular messaging app WhatsApp (owned by Facebook) to inject commercial Israeli spyware on to phones, the company and a spyware technology dealer said. What is unique is how the app was infected: with a simple phone call.
    According to the FT, 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 NSO Group, a notorious and controversial Israeli hacking and surveillance tools vendor, could be transmitted even if users did not answer their phones, and the calls often disappeared from call logs.
    It is unclear how many apps were infected with the spyware trojan, which could for example, allow anyone to get access to John Podesta's email password (and then blame say, Vladimir Putin for example) as WhatsApp is too early into its own investigations of the vulnerability to estimate how many phones were targeted using this method, although it is likely a substantial number. As late as Sunday, the FT reports that WhatsApp engineers were racing to close the loophole.
    For those who thought that Alexa's constant eavesdropping was bad, this is even worse: 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. It effectively opens up one's entire cellphone to the hacker, and to get "infected", one just needs to receive an inbound phone call without ever answering it.
    Many people probably heard of NSO for the first time in December 2018, when a New York Times story that claimed the company helped Saudi Arabia spy on the Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi before he was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey in October of last year.
    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
    Since the application is Israeli, its hardly a surprise that the spies' preferred targets were Middle Eastern: as the FT reports, 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.
    “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, with the government in question being that of Israel. “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.


    Of course, if instead of a "secretive Israeli" company, the offender was found to be - say - a fabricated Russian outfit, the deep state would ensure that we would now be on the verge of World War III. However, since it's Israel.... well, turn on your TV and see how many TV stations discuss this grotesque spying incident which could affect virtually anyone.
    NSO, of course, 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].”
    Among others, the attack targeted a UK lawyer, who declined to be identified, who 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.
    “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 defense.
    It was unclear if the entity behind the actual espionage was NSO in conjunction with the Israeli government, or if Israel had sold the hacking application to one or more of its best clients, including Saudi Arabia.
    “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 International, which identified an attempt to hack into the phone of one its researchers.
    “The Israeli ministry of defense 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.
    For more on NSO, watch this 60 Minutes interview with the company's CEO.

    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-...spyware-phones
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankind…it’s people I can’t stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

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    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

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  3. #2

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by enhanced_deficit View Post
    Zerohedge is probably not bad reporter but let's wait till MSM confirmation of this story.

    Timing is interesting as there is higher risk of Iran military conflict.

    A shadowy Israeli firm is accused of spying on US government officials to undermine Iran deal
    They have lots of links embedded.
    *******

    I didn't start out thinking that anti-vax people were fools or impervious to reason, it's from my experience here that I now think that.
    - AmyPi 2014 (RIP)

    Anti-vaxxers, responsible for a 30 percent uptick in totally preventable diseases in the world, have blood on their hands. They shouldn't be considered civilized members of society. If they refuse to listen to a century of scientific studies confirming time and time again that vaccination is an unquestionable good for humanity, then it's time for us to start treating anti-vaxxers as what they are: dangerous and worthy of shame and condemnation. If we can't convince anti-vaxxers to change their minds, we must attach enough social stigma to the delusion that agnostics cease to join them.

  5. #4

  6. #5
    https://www.thesun.co.uk/tech/429535...ons-every-day/

    How to find out exactly what Google knows about you


    First, you'll need to be signed into your Gmail or Google account.
    Once you've done that, type "history.google.com/history" into your web browser.
    You'll be taken to a hub which contains your entire digital footprint, so be careful, it could make for some grim reading.
    This includes Maps searches and YouTube videos you've watched.
    Click on "Activity Controls "on the left-hand side of the page.
    Under "Web and App Activity", click "Manage Activity".
    If Google's keeping tabs on you, there should be a stream of web pages and map searches that show up in chronological order.
    You can randomly delete searches, or select all the searches to make them disappear.
    Quiz: Test Your "Income" Tax IQ!

    Short Income Tax Video

    The Income Tax Is An Excise, And Excise Taxes Are Privilege Taxes

    The Federalist Papers, No. 15:

    Except as to the rule of appointment, the United States have an indefinite discretion to make requisitions for men and money; but they have no authority to raise either by regulations extending to the individual citizens of America.

  7. #6
    no! not the israelis! I am so surprised (sarc)
    I love my country, but I fear my government

  8. #7

  9. #8
    In related news:

    NYC spy targetted watchdogs researching Israeli firm selling phone hacking tech to governments

    By RAPHAEL SATTER
    LONDON (AP) — When mysterious operatives lured two cybersecurity researchers to meetings at luxury hotels over the past two months, it was an apparent bid to discredit their research about an Israeli company that makes smartphone hacking technology used by some governments to spy on their citizens. The Associated Press has now learned of similar undercover efforts targeting at least four other individuals who have raised questions about the use of the Israeli firm’s spyware.

    The four others targeted by operatives include three lawyers involved in related lawsuits in Israel and Cyprus alleging that the company, the NSO Group, sold its spyware to governments with questionable human rights records. The fourth is a London-based journalist who has covered the litigation. Two of them — the journalist and a Cyprus-based lawyer — were secretly recorded meeting the undercover operatives; footage of them was broadcast on Israeli television just as the AP was preparing to publish this story.

    All six of the people who were targeted said they believe the operatives were part of a coordinated effort to discredit them.
    “There’s somebody who’s really interested in sabotaging the case,” said one of the targets, Mazen Masri, who teaches at City University, London and is advising the plaintiffs’ attorney in the case in Israel.

    Masri said the operatives were “looking for dirt and irrelevant information about people involved.”
    The details of these covert efforts offer a glimpse into the sometimes shadowy world of private investigators, which includes some operatives who go beyond gathering information and instead act as provocateurs. The targets told the AP that the covert agents tried to goad them into making racist and anti-Israel remarks or revealing sensitive information about their work in connection with the lawsuits.

    NSO has previously said it has nothing to do with the undercover efforts “either directly or indirectly.” It did not return repeated messages asking about the new targets identified by the AP. American private equity firm Francisco Partners, which owns NSO, did not return a message from the AP seeking comment.

    The undercover operatives’ activities might never have been made public had it not been for two researchers who work at Citizen Lab, an internet watchdog group that is based out of the University of Toronto’s Munk School.

    Who hired the undercover agents remains unclear, but their operational and digital fingerprints suggest they are linked.
    The six operatives all began approaching their targets around the same time with individually tailored pitches. Their bogus websites followed the same patterns; all of them were hosted on Namecheap and many were bought at auction from GoDaddy and used the Israeli web design platform Wix. The formatting of the websites was similar; in at least two instances — MGP and Lyndon Partners — it was identical. Even the operatives’ email signatures were the same — consisting of three neatly packed, colorful lines consisting of a phone number, web address and email.

    An Israeli television channel, Channel 12, broadcast a report on Saturday claiming that an Israeli private investigation firm, Black Cube, had been investigating issues around the lawsuits against NSO. The TV channel showed secretly shot footage of the Cypriot lawyer, Markou, and the London journalist, Hamid, which matched the pair’s description of their encounters with undercover agents.

    lack Cube does have a possible tie to Almog-Assouline, the man who held the hotel meeting about NSO in New York. During a long-running Canadian legal battle between two private equity firms — Catalyst Capital and West Face Capital — one man caught up in the litigation said he recognized Almog-Assouline because he’d been approached by the same operative under a different identity several years ago. “I recognized the individual, down to the accent and the anecdotes,” said the man, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation.

    When an AP reporter rang the door at his penthouse in Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Hasharon a week ago, a woman who identified herself as his wife said he wasn’t home. When the reporter followed up with a phone call to Almog-Assouline, he said: “I have no interest in speaking to you.”


    Online:
    Documents related to the undercover operation: https://www.documentcloud.org/search...-Undercover-Op

    https://apnews.com/a1d1af4256c04cc5a36347667e966a14




    Sep 20 2018
    They Got 'Everything': Inside a Demo of NSO Group's Powerful iPhone Malware

    A source managed to see Israeli surveillance vendor NSO Group’s powerful iPhone malware up close. Despite a wave of highly controversial customers, the company appears to be popular worldwide.

    https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/a...p-spyware-demo


    Trump Skips Deadline to Report to Congress on Khashoggi Murder

    Memes in response to Tribe's tweet crossed the line



    Terry Crews sex assault claim: Did Enquirer use blackmail to protect pro-Israel figure?

    Weinstein scandal: Asia Argento says being followed by ex-Mossad agents was 'terrifying'
    Sara M Moniuszko, USA TODAY
    November 07, 2017
    In a tweet posted Tuesday, she confirms information found in the investigation, saying it was part of the reason herself and other accusers didn't speak up sooner.

    Report: Ex Israeli PM Ehud Barak Negotiated Hiring Ex-Mossad Agents to Intimidate Weinstein's Victims
    The Jewish Press - 9h ago


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lh04uu1EkIU


    James Woods: 'I Don't Expect to Work Again' in Hollywood

    The Washington Times Thursday, September 12, 2013
    The latest came this week, in response to a report from British press that revealed the National Security Agency commonly provides Israel with intelligence data — without first stripping out private and personal information on American citizens. The Guardian in London reported the item, the latest in its coverage of document leaks from Edward Snowden.
    Mr. Woods unleashed his views of the matter — and of Mr. Obama's role in allowing the practice to occur — on Twitter.
    He wrote: "Report: Data on Americans shared with Israel ... Obama: the gift from hell that keeps on giving."







    Black Cube and Oligarchs in the Shadows

    November 9, 2017 by Richard Silverstein



    Dan Zorella, Black Cube co-founder and former IDF military intelligence officer, (Yossi Aloni)

    In my post of yesterday, I forgot to include a Black Cube client at least as oily and disgusting as Harvey Weinstein.

    Black Cube agents brought to court charged with spying on Romania’s corruption czar on behalf of Beny Steinmetz




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