The popular US whistleblower Edward Snowden has reported the abuse of surveillance made by many governments, he blamed the Israeli company NSO Group for developing and selling surveillance software to Saudi Arabia.
Speaking during a conference in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, Snowden explained that the spy software developed by NSO Group enabled the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, at a conference in Tel Aviv on Wednesday.
Snowden claimed that Israeli company NSO Group had sold Saudi Arabia software that was used to compromise the smartphone of one of Khashoggi’s friends.
Officially the sale of surveillance software is limited to authorized governments to support investigation of agencies on criminal organizations and terrorist groups.
Unfortunately, its software is known to have been abused to spy on journalists and human rights activists.
In July, Citizen Lab collected evidence of attacks against 175 targets worldwide carried on with the NSO spyware. Citizen Lab uncovered other attacks against individuals in Qatar or Saudi, where the Israeli surveillance software is becoming very popular.
|COUNTRY NEXUS||REPORTED CASES OF INDIVIDUALS TARGETED||YEAR(S) IN WHICH SPYWARE INFECTION WAS ATTEMPTED|
|Panama||Up to 150 (Source: Univision)1||2012-2014|
|UAE||1 (Source: Citizen Lab)||2016|
|Mexico||22 (Source: Citizen Lab)||2016|
|Saudi Arabia||2 (Source: Amnesty, Citizen Lab)||2018|
In August, an Amnesty International report confirmed that its experts identified a second human rights activist, in Saudi Arabia, who was targeted with the powerful spyware.
According to Joshua Franco, Amnesty’s head of technology and human rights, recent discovery demonstrates that trading of surveillance software is going out-of-control.
Now Snowden claims that the Israeli surveillance firm NSO Group had a primary role in Khashoggi’s murder that is “one of the major stories that’s not being written about.”
“They are the worst of the worst in selling these burglary tools that are being actively, currently used to violate the human rights of dissidents, opposition figures, activists, to some pretty bad players,” Snowden told his audience.
The Snowden Video Interview was published by almasdarnews.com.
Snowden told to the audience that the surveillance firms don’t operate “to save lives, but to make money.”
NEW REPORT: The Kingdom Came to Canada: How Saudi-Linked Digital Espionage Reached Canadian Soil https://t.co/jY3PhRqHnk
— Citizen Lab (@citizenlab) October 1, 2018
The principal product of the NSO Group is a surveillance software called Pegasus, it allows to spy on the most common mobile devices, including iPhones, Androids, and BlackBerry and Symbian systems.
Pegasus is a perfect tool for surveillance, it is able to steal any kind of data from smartphones and use them to spy on the surrounding environment through their camera and microphone.
“In its commercial proposals, the NSO Group asserts that its tracking software and hardware can install itself in any number of ways, including “over the air stealth installation,” tailored text messages and emails, through public Wi-Fi hot spots rigged to secretly install NSO Group software, or the old-fashioned way, by spies in person.” continues The New York Times.
(Security Affairs – NSO Group, Khashoggi)