The “Washington Post” newspaper blew up a dangerous surprise and published an extensive investigation conducted by it, in cooperation with 16 other institutions from 10 countries, that concluded serious results about the Israeli “Pegasus” spy program, affiliated with the “NSO” group based in Israel.
Forbidden Stories, with the support of Amnesty International, managed to obtain a list of more than 50,000 phone numbers (without indicating their source) that included the targets of NSO clients and its famous spyware.
The list does not specify who puts the numbers on it, or why, and it is not known how many phones have been targeted or monitored.
Over the course of several months, journalists reviewed and analyzed the list in an effort to find out the identities of the owners of those numbers and determine whether their phones had indeed been implanted with Pegasus software.
Spying on more than 1,000 government officials, journalists, and activists
The investigation was able to identify more than a thousand government officials, journalists, businessmen and human rights activists whose phone numbers were included in the list.
In addition to obtaining data from 67 phones, before it was forensically analyzed in Amnesty International’s security laboratory.
The investigation was also able to prove that 37 of the 67 phones were hacked or attempted to be hacked by Pegasus.
It is noteworthy that a number of numbers were included in the list during the investigation.
And it was proven that after a short time it was exposed to hacking or hacking attempts, which actually proved the existence of a link between the list and the desires of the Israeli company’s customers.
The 37 victims are close to Khashoggi
The “Washington Post” indicated in a separate report that the aforementioned 37 hacking operations targeted journalists, human rights activists, and executives, in addition to Hanan al-Attar, the wife of the late Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and his fiancée, Khadija Genghis, prior to his assassination in 2018. .
The investigation proved, by analyzing the data of those phones, that the timing of the inclusion of the numbers in the list was linked to the start of hacking or monitoring attempts.
Although the list does not indicate the identity of the owners of those numbers, the investigation was able to identify the names of 1,000 Prime Time Zone from more than 50 countries on four continents.
Read also: Israeli surveillance companies worked for Saudi Arabia in direct coordination between Bin Salman and Netanyahu
The investigation also pointed to the presence of members of Arab ruling families, including at least 65 executive directors, 85 human rights activists, 189 journalists, and more than 600 politicians and government officials.
This includes ministers, diplomats, military and security officers, as well as many heads of state and prime ministers.
According to the investigation, the conclusively proven targeting of 37 smartphones by the Israeli company contradicts the stated purpose of licensing the “Pegasus” spyware, which the company says is intended for use only in monitoring “terrorists and major criminals.”
The report also explained that Amnesty’s Security Lab designed a test to scan data from phones for possible traces of a Pegasus infection.
The research consortium asked Prime Time Zone if they would agree to the analysis after learning that their numbers were on the previously mentioned list.
And 67 Prime Time Zone agreed, and of those, 23 phone data showed evidence of a successful infection, and 14 had traces of a hack attempt.
For the remaining 30 phones, tests were inconclusive, and in several cases due to phones being lost or replaced, tests were attempted on backup files that may have contained data from the previous phone.
Fifteen tests were conducted on data from Android phones, and none of them showed evidence of successful infection.
However, unlike iPhones, Android devices do not record the types of information required for Amnesty’s investigative work. Three Android phones showed signs of targeting, such as text messages associated with the Pegasus system.
Evidence extracted from those phones raises questions, according to the Washington Post, about the Israeli company’s commitments to monitor its customers’ compliance with human rights.
Israeli surveillance companies worked for Saudi Arabia
Yesterday, the American newspaper “New York Times” said in a report that the Israeli occupation government secretly allowed a group of electronic surveillance companies to work for the Saudi government. Despite international condemnation of Riyadh’s use of these programs to crush dissent and the killing of Khashoggi.
In the details, the American newspaper revealed that the Israeli government encouraged the “NSO” company and two additional companies to work with Saudi Arabia.
It also granted a new license to a fourth company to do similar work, overriding human rights concerns, according to a senior Israeli official and three Prime Time Zone linked to Saudi Arabia.
Israel has authorized NSO, Candiru, Verint and Quadream to work with Saudi Arabia, and the latter two companies were granted authorization after Khashoggi’s murder, according to the report.
The New York Times pointed out that a fifth Israeli company called Cellebrite is working with Saudi Arabia to sell spyware on mobile phones, but without official approval from the Israeli government.
Israeli Ministry of Defense
The newspaper quoted the Israeli Ministry of Defense that it will cancel any license to sell software to Saudi Arabia to infiltrate mobile phones, if it is proven that the software was used in violation of human rights.
She added that NSO informed the consulting firm that was appointed to look into its role in Khashoggi’s killing, that the Israeli government encouraged it to “withstand the storm and continue its work in Saudi Arabia.”
They also said that Israeli officials told them that the Trump administration also wanted the company to continue working with Riyadh.
NSO decided to cancel the “Picasos” system for spying on mobile phones after it was exposed that it was used to spy on the journalists of the Qatari “Al-Jazeera” channel and other journalists.
But it recently returned to announce new deals with Saudi Arabia.
Follow our YouTube channel to see all the new
Click here and hit the subscribe button