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follow Patrick 2019 May 13, 8:18pm
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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. ...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. ...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. ...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.
Just assume EVERYTHING on your devices is compromised. Period. Forever.