In early June 2018, an Amnesty International staff member received a suspicious WhatsApp message in Arabic. The text contained details about an alleged protest outside the Saudi embassy in Washington D.C., followed by a link to a website. Investigations by Amnesty International’s technology team revealed that clicking the link would have, according to prior knowledge, installed “Pegasus”, a sophisticated surveillance tool developed by the Israel-based company NSO Group.
Like many other Israeli startups in the security field, NSO was founded in 2010 by three veterans of the army’s premier signals intelligence unit, 8200: Niv Carmi, Omri Lavie and Shalev Hulio. They started work on Pegasus, which remains NSO’s only product, immediately after founding the company.
(21.1.2015) He changed his password, alerted his friend, and stopped using Facebook Messenger — but the intrusions kept coming.
In another instance, Moosa noticed that someone posing as him solicited his female Facebook friends for sex — part of an effort, it seemed, to blackmail or perhaps defame him in Bahrain’s conservative media. Facebook was only the beginning. Unbeknownst to him, Moosa’s phone and computer had been infected with a highly sophisticated piece of spyware, built and sold in secret. The implant effectively commandeered his digital existence, collecting everything he did or said online.
(10.4.2018) In an unprecedented move, Chinese authorities declassified this information about the deal and in a statement on the CAS website, said China was the first country to export such sensitive equipment to Pakistan. International observers have long believed that Beijing is supporting Islamabad’s missile development program.
But solid evidence has been difficult to come by in the public domain, making the CAS statement a rarity. The question is why did the Chinese decide to make this public announcement this time around?