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Intelligence Is Hacking WhatsApp

A man types into a App (photo credit: STEVE MARCUS) NSO Group Technologies is an Israeli technology firm whose spyware called Pegas...

A man types into a App (photo credit: STEVE MARCUS)
NSO Group Technologies is an Israeli technology firm whose spyware called Pegasus enables the remote surveillance of every smartphone on the planet once they got your number and it's not a deal to get your mobile number. NSO technologies owned and controlled by the MOSSAD, the Israeli intelligence agency that helps government agencies prevent and investigate terrorism and crime to save thousands of lives around the globe.

Terrorists, drug traffickers, pedophiles, and other criminals have access to advanced technology and are harder to monitor, track, and capture than ever before. The world’s most dangerous offenders communicate using social media designed to shield their communications, while government intelligence and law-enforcement agencies struggle to collect evidence and intelligence on their activities.

Due to these ongoing global concerns, the member nations of the Five Eyes (FVEY) intelligence alliance warn that, “The increasing gap between the ability of law enforcement to lawfully access data and their ability to acquire and use the content of that data is a pressing international concern that requires urgent, sustained attention.” Therefore, NSO Group Technologies came into existence to fix that gap. Personally, I love the works of NSO Group it very smart!

Cyber Surveillance Gone Rouge

Further, Facebook asserted that NSO had a contract with QuadraNet, using its server “more than 700 times during the attack to direct NSO’s malware to WhatsApp user devices in April and May 2019.”
The brief named the remote server IP addresses 5 and as being used for the attacks. Moreover, the brief listed a bunch of subdomains that were all allegedly hosted on Amazon servers covering the dates of the attacks.

The new revelations could make it harder for NSO to continue to deny any US operations and harder to get out of the lawsuit with a sovereign immunity defense. The October 29 lawsuit had already alleged NSO creating specific WhatsApp accounts in Cyprus, Israel, Brazil, Indonesia, Sweden and the Netherlands to achieve the hack, and mentioned malicious servers owned by Choopa, Quadranet and Amazon Web Services.

Technologies used US-based servers and was “deeply involved” in carrying out mobile phone hacks of 1,400 WhatsApp users, including senior government officials, journalists, and human rights activists. The new claims about NSO Group allege that the Israeli company bears responsibility in serious human rights violations, including the hacking of more than a dozen Indian journalists and Rwandan dissidents.

WhatsApp has said victims of the hack received phone calls using its messaging app, and were infected with Pegasus. Then, it said: “NSO used a network of computers to monitor and update Pegasus after it was implanted on users’ devices. These NSO-controlled computers served as the nerve centre through which NSO controlled its customers’ operation and use of Pegasus.”

A sticking point in the public debate and likely in the US case could be cutting through whether NSO can really “provide basic technical support” without at least indirectly touching on “any operational activity” – it claims the two issues are separate. Another key question, even if NSO gets past that first issue is whether NSO can be held responsible for what its clients do using a broad theory of negligence – the same way that those dealing in hazardous materials can be held liable for all sorts of indirect and unintended impacts from those materials.

However, Facebook’s latest evidence suggested that NSO was directly involved. NSO could also be held liable for producing a hazardous cyber tool of sorts, without which Facebook’s clients could not have been hacked by NSO’s clients. Without formally admitting to Facebook’s specific lawsuit, with a wink and a nod, NSO sources have indirectly admitted to The Jerusalem Post in the past that hacking a service like Facebook’s WhatsApp to stop bad guys is part of why they need to exist.

NSO responded to Facebook’s brief saying, “Our products are used to stop terrorism, curb violent crime, and save lives. NSO Group does not operate the Pegasus software for its clients, nor can it be used against US mobile phone numbers, or against a device within the geographic bounds of the United States.”

“Our past statements about our business, and the extent of our interaction with our government intelligence and law enforcement agency customers, are accurate,” noting that “we will be filing a brief in response to these latest filings by WhatsApp in the coming days.” If the hack occurred, Facebook and individual users might have a right to significant civil damages.

For years, NSO Group has said that its spyware is purchased by government clients for the purpose of tracking down terrorists and other criminals and that it had no independent knowledge of how those clients – which in the past have reportedly included Saudi Arabia and Mexico – use its hacking software. But a lawsuit filed by WhatsApp against NSO Group last year – the first of its kind by a major technology company - is revealing more technical details about how the hacking software, Pegasus, is allegedly deployed against targets.