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The misuse of NSO’s products is part of a larger problem, abuse of government-exclusive spyware to target individuals and organizations who are neither criminal, nor terrorists, but members of civil society.
In our of NSO use in Mexico we found targeting of civil society even included scientists.
Part 1: The Million Dollar Dissident: NSO Group’s i Phone Zero-Days used against a UAE Human Rights Defender Part 2: Bittersweet: Supporters of Mexico’s Soda Tax Targeted With NSO Exploit Links Part 3: Reckless Exploit: Mexican Journalists, Lawyers, and a Child Targeted with NSO Spyware Part 4: Reckless Redux: Senior Mexican Legislators and Politicians Targeted with NSO Spyware Part 5: Reckless III: Investigation Into Mexican Mass Disappearance Targeted with NSO Spyware uncovering how United Arab Emirates (UAE) activist Ahmed Mansoor was targeted with “Pegasus” (sophisticated government-exclusive spyware) and “The Trident” (a chain of i OS zero day exploits) designed to infect his i Phone 6 via a malicious link in an SMS text message.
We attributed Pegasus and The Trident exploit chain to an Israel-based “cyber warfare” company, NSO Group.
Reporters working on these topics often face threats in an attempt to intimidate them into silence.
between Santiago Aguirre and the parent of one of the victims of the Iguala Mass Disappearance appeared online.
An infected phone can be configured to report back all activities on the device, from messages and calls (even those via end-to-end-encrypted messaging apps), to recording audio and taking pictures.
to prior Citizen Lab reporting, NSO has claimed that “their mission is to help make the world a safer place, by providing authorized governments with technology that helps them combat terror and crime.” The company claimed that it “fully complies with strict export control laws and regulations.” Implying that they have limited ability to see exactly how their product is used, NSO Group stated that “the company does NOT operate any of its systems.” Furthermore, NSO Group claims that its “products may only be used for the prevention and investigation of crimes.” abuses of NSO’s spyware, demonstrating a failure to control the end-uses of their products.
Our investigation was conducted with the collaboration and assistance of R3D, Social Tic and The targets share a basic connection: they have been involved in investigating or working on reports of high-level official corruption, or government involvement in human rights abuses.When the link is clicked, the phone visits a server that checks the handset model (i Phone, Android, etc) and then sends the phone a remote exploit for its operating system.