In 2011, Mexican president Felipe Calderón reportedly called NSO to thank the company for its role in Guzmán's capture. To monitor a target, a government operator of Pegasus must convince the target to click on a specially crafted exploit link, which, when clicked, delivers a chain of zero-day exploits to penetrate security features on the phone and installs Pegasus without the user’s knowledge or permission. 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. NSO Group’s Pegasus tool is used for targeted attacks and by design, is not meant for mass surveillance. In India, the more than two dozen targeted users include Nagpur-based Human Rights lawyer Nihalsingh Rathod, Adivasi activists Bela Bhatia and Degree Prasad Chauhan, Shalini Gera of Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group, Anand Teltumbde, a former BBC journalist Shubhranshu Choudhary, amongst others. The software can also collect Wi-Fi passwords. NSO Group markets Pegasus as providing "unlimited access to target's mobile devices", allowing clients to "remotely and covertly collect information about your target's relationships, location, phone calls, plans and activities – whenever and wherever they are". NSO licenses this software, called Pegasus, to intelligence and law enforcement agencies worldwide, so they can infiltrate the encrypted phones and apps of criminals and terrorists. It was identified that 25 countries across the world were the customer to Circles. At least in one case, the surveillance was authorized by a judge. Israel-based “Cyber Warfare” vendor NSO Group produces and sells a mobile phone spyware suite called Pegasus. Pegasus, a spyware built by the NSO Group, was found to have infiltrated the phones of 1,400 individuals globally, including human rights activists, lawyers and activists in India. NSO Group claimed in the filings that even if its spyware, Pegasus, did use QuadraNet servers, it was third-party activity. [5], On August 1, 2018, the Human Rights Group Amnesty International accused NSO Group of helping Saudi Arabia spy on a member of the organization's staff. "[23][24], On February 14, 2019, Francisco Partners sold a 60% majority stake of NSO back to co-founders Shalev Hulio and Omri Lavie, who were supported in the purchase by Novalpina Capital. ***Update (November 1, 2019 11 am): This article was updated with more details about what Pegasus can do, a video explaining the case, and with a digital copy of Pegasus’s product description from the lawsuit. The World is One News, WION examines global issues with in-depth analysis. The company sells its software around the globe to intelligence and … [5] Founders Lavie and Hulio, partnering with European private equity fund Novalpina Capital, purchased a majority stake in NSO in February 2019. NSO Group Technologies (NSO standing for Niv, Shalev and Omri, the names of the company's founders) is an Israeli technology firm whose spyware called Pegasus enables the remote surveillance of smartphones. NSO Group has claimed that its software was used to catch El Chapo, but researchers have shown that a total of 25 Mexicans have been abusively targeted. “This malware is designed to evade forensic analysis, avoid detection by anti-virus software, and can be deactivated and removed by operators,” according to Citizen Lab. Once the phone is exploited and Pegasus is installed, it begins contacting the operator’s command and contr… Pegasus … The NSO Group, which makes the Pegasus spyware used to target at least 121 Indian citizens, had responded to The Quint’s queries on 31 October stating it “is not able to disclose who is … Israel Spyware Firm NSO Group Maintains Its Products 'Battle Terrorism' Alone. It’s the latest allegation that NSO Group provided Pegasus to a customer that used it for more than combating terrorism and crime. This means that only select individuals would have been targeted. Specifically, NSO Employee 1 stated, 'You just closed our biggest remote for cellular . Early versions of Pegasus were used to surveil the phone of Joaquín Guzmán, known as El Chapo. NSO quietly made its bones by being able to hack into encrypted iPhones, known mostly among the discreet cybersecurity community. [17] In 2015, the company sold surveillance technology to the government of Panama. NSO Group – sued by Facebook for developing Pegasus spyware that targeted WhatsApp users – this week claimed Facebook tried to license the very same surveillance software to snoop on its own social-media addicts. Both of them are on the company’s board. Analyses from University of Toronto-based Citizen Lab and cybersecurity firm Lookout revealed that NSO had supplied spyware products to UAE, Saudi Arabia and Mexico. [38] In court filings WhatsApp alleged that its investigation into how NSO's Pegasus was used against 1,400 users in 2019 showed that the hacks originated from NSO Group servers rather than its clients'. [58] The firm has two systems, where one operates by connecting to the local telecommunications companies’ infrastructure of the purchasing country. According to Google, "Chrysaor is believed to be related to the Pegasus spyware". The group invested a total of $1.8 million for a 30% stake. “Unlike NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware, the SS7 mechanism by which Circles’ product reportedly operates does not have an obvious signature on a target’s phone,” explained the report. TECHNICAL ANALYSIS OF PEGASUS SPYWARE | 3 infrastructure to that of NSO Group which offers a product called Pegasus solution. (Read more about other methods here.) Watch video to know more. The Pegasus spyware is classified as a weapon by Israel and any export of the technology must be approved by the government. [42], On August 25, 2016, Citizen Lab and Lookout revealed that Pegasus was being used to target human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor in the United Arab Emirates. WhatsApp brought the lawsuit against NSO Group in October 2019, claiming that the company’s Pegasus spyware was used to hack more than a thousand users, including prominent human rights lawyers, activists, journalists and academics. [7][43], Analysis by Citizen Lab and Lookout discovered that the link downloaded software to exploit three previously unknown and unpatched zero-day vulnerabilities in iOS. [21][22], In early February 2019, one of the operatives targeting Citizen Lab researchers was identified as Aharon Almog-Assouline, a "former Israeli security official living in the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Hasharon. These vulnerabilities were patches with iOS 9.3.5. While the Moroccan authorities are ultimately responsible for the unlawful targeting of activists and journalists like Omar Radi, NSO Group contributed to these abuses by keeping the government on as an active customer until at least January 2020. After CEO Dick Costolo, Twitter’s M&A Head Rishi Garg Quits, Gujarat HC Gives Livestreaming Court Proceedings A Shot. . WhatsApp is suing an Israeli spyware company, US FTC orders Amazon, Facebook, 7 other tech companies to tell how they process user data, Facebook to introduce AI-based article summary feature called TLDR soon: Report, Facebook to avoid EU privacy rules in UK by moving users to US terms: Report, WhatsApp Launches UPI-Based Payments Feature In India, MediaNama: Roundtable On Copyright And Digital Media. WhatsApp said "NSO used a network of computers to monitor and update Pegasus after it was implanted on users' devices. NSO Group markets Pegasus as providing "unlimited access to target's mobile devices", allowing clients to "remotely and covertly collect information about your target's relationships, location, phone calls, plans and activities – whenever and wherever they are". Ltd. Documents also revealed that Circles sent targets’ locations and phone records to the UAE SCNS. The rights group claimed that the journalist was targeted three times and spied after his device was infected with an NSO tool. [2] It was later revealed by a New York Times investigation that NSO's product was used to target journalists and human right activists in the country. (Read the more detailed list here. [14] The company was officially put up for sale for more than $1 billion in June 2017, roughly ten times what Francisco originally paid in 2014. [51] They stated that the Mexican government used Pegasus to send them messages about funeral homes containing links which, when clicked, allowed the government to surreptitiously listen to the investigators. The NSO Group, whose software — Pegasus — was used to spy on 121 Indians using a vulnerability in WhatsApp, pitched its products to American Police as well, Motherboard reported on … It employed almost 500 people as of 2017, and is based in Herzliya, near Tel Aviv. [50], In July 2017, the international team assembled to investigate the 2014 Iguala mass kidnapping publicly complained they thought they were being surveilled by the Mexican government. [59] [60]. As per the website, the products are used exclusively by government intelligence and law enforcement agencies to fight crime and terror. The report issued on Wednesday by the office of the UN high commissioner for human rights suggested that NSO Group's Pegasus spyware was the 'most … Required fields are marked *. [54] NSO CEO Shalev Hulio stated that the company had not been involved in the "terrible murder", but declined to comment on reports that he had personally traveled to the Saudi capital Riyadh for a $55 million Pegasus sale. Pegasus carries a high price tag averaging at over $25,000 per target. [9] Mansoor informed Citizen Lab researchers Bill Marczak and John Scott-Railton that his iPhone 6 had been targeted on August 10, 2016, by means of a clickable link in an SMS text message. Over 100 cases of abusive targeting of human rights defenders and journalists have been identified in at least 20 countries across the globe. NSO’s flagship software, known as Pegasus, is such a … However, the Israeli company behind Pegasus, NSO Group, dismisses Citizen Lab's findings. NSO claims that it provides "authorized governments with technology that helps them combat terror and crime". WhatsApp said that NSO gained "unauthorised access" to WhatsApp servers by reverse-engineering the WhatsApp app to be able to evade security features. [37], In April 2020, NSO group blamed hacking of 1400 WhatsApp users including journalists and human rights activists on its government clients. It was developed by the Israeli cyberarms firm NSO Group. Report on Wednesday says NSO Group's Pegasus spyware was likely involved Saudi Crown Prince sent Bezos on WhatsApp on May 1, 2018 with malicious code Saudi Royal Guard … [12], In June 2020, an investigation by Amnesty International alleged that Moroccan journalist Omar Radi was targeted using the Israeli spyware Pegasus. [28][29] Victims were exposed to the spyware payload even if they did not answer the call. Therefore, we are announcing proactive measures designed to help limit the coronavirus risk to our workforce. In response to an AP report, NSO denied any involvement. [18], In 2014, the American private equity firm Francisco Partners bought the company for $130 million. The NSO Group, whose software — Pegasus — was used to spy on 121 Indians using a vulnerability in WhatsApp, pitched its products to American … It was founded in 2010 by Niv Carmi, Omri Lavie, and Shalev Hulio. It’s on the news all over the world. "Pegasus and its variants (collectively, "Pegasus") were designed to be remotely installed and enable the remote access and control of information—including calls, messages, and location—on mobile devices using the Android, iOS, and BlackBerry operating systems," said WhatsApp in its lawsuit against the NSO Group. WhatsApp, Pegasus spyware maker, the government are caught in a blame game", "Israeli spyware allegedly used to target Pakistani officials' phones", "Israeli firm won't say if it sold Saudis spyware linked to Khashoggi killing", "Spyware technology found on phone of Moroccan journalist, report says", "Secretive cyber warfare firm NSO Group explores sale: sources", "Israeli Cyberattack Firm NSO Bought Back by Founders at $1b Company Value", "The Israelis Behind History's 'Most Sophisticated Tracker Program' That Wormed Into Apple", "Using Texts as Lures, Government Spyware Targets Mexican Journalists and Their Families (Published 2017)", "Can This Israeli Startup Hack Your Phone? Now, however, it has been reacquired by its founders and management, a European private equity firm called Novalpina Capital, and Q Cyber is listed as the only active director of the Group and its majority shareholder. It’s the latest allegation that NSO Group provided Pegasus to a customer that used it for more than combating terrorism and crime. ", "Everything We Know About NSO Group: The Professional Spies Who Hacked iPhones With A Single Text", "Activists and journalists in Mexico complain of government spying", "Government Hackers Caught Using Unprecedented iPhone Spy Tool", "Who is spying on Indians? Pegasus, a spyware produced by the NSO Group, an Israeli technology company, has been spying on Indian journalists, activists and lawyers through WhatsApp. It … Judge orders NSO Group to fight case brought by Saudi activist and pay his legal costs Oliver Holmes and Stephanie Kirchgaessner Thu 16 Jan 2020 05.27 EST Last modified on Thu 16 Jan … The software allows attackers to take almost total control … Its other directors include citizens of the USA, UK, Germany and Israel. The government of India is miffed. This means that only select individuals would have been targeted. [55], According to an investigation by The Guardian and El País, Pegasus software was used to compromise the phones of several politicians active in the Catalan independence movement, including President of the Parliament of Catalonia Roger Torrent, and former member of the Parliament of Catalonia Anna Gabriel i Sabaté. "[49], In April 2017, after a Lookout report, Google researchers discovered Android malware "believed to be created by NSO Group Technologies" and naming it Chrysaor (Pegasus' brother in Greek mythology). A screenshot from NSO Group’s Pegasus Working Station software, showing locations of infected devices (as of March 2012). In 2011, Mexican president Felipe Calderón reportedly called NSO to thank the company for its role in Guzmán's capture. FBI launches investigation into Pegasus spyware vendor over US citizen hacks. NSO Group is fighting three lawsuits that allege its spyware was used to monitor journalists, activists and a friend of Jamal Khashoggi in Canada. Pegasus is such a sensitive spy tool NSO has to get approval before it can be licensed to any client, let alone Saudi Arabia, from the Israeli Defense Ministry, as though it's an arms deal. Developed by NSO Group, Pegasus allows access to an incredible amount of data from victims' smartphones remotely, including their text messages, emails, WhatsApp chats, contact details, calls records, location, microphone, and camera. Your email address will not be published. The contract became the subject of a Panamanian anti-corruption investigation following its disclosure in a leak of confidential information from Italian firm Hacking Team. Pegasus Logistics Group is committed to the health and safety of our workforce. [15] Hulio and Lavie invested $100 million, with Novalpina acquiring the remaining portion of the majority stake, thus valuing the company at approximately $1 billion. It includes [7] The company's start-up funding came from a group of investors headed by Eddy Shalev, a partner in venture capital fund Genesis Partners. This isn’t a new malware, and has been around since at least 2016. So NSO Group and Kaymera offer complementary products. Watch this video to know more about the case: [embeddoc url=”https://www.medianama.com/wp-content/uploads/NSO-Pegasus.pdf” download=”all”]. “If so, by which date. The software allows attackers to take almost total control of an affected phone. [12] In October 2019, instant messaging company WhatsApp and its parent company Facebook sued NSO under the US Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). Roger Torrent has accused Madrid of spying on him by employing NSO-made Pegasus software; messaging giant doesn’t say whether hack succeeded By TOI … Pegasus’ discovery by researchers from Citizen Lab and mobile security company Lookout led back to the secretive, complex and opaque NSO Group. [5] At that time, NSO had almost 500 employees, up from around 50 in 2014. In 2019, messaging app WhatsApp and its parent company Facebook sued NSO Group, alleging that “at least 100 human-rights defenders, journalists and other members of civil society” were infected with Pegasus … Pegasus is a malware that NSO Group developed, which, when installed on a phone, hoovers all communications (iMessage, WhatsApp, Gmail, Viber, Facebook, Skype) and locations. In a July 2019 sales pitch for Pegasus, the NSO Group said that it could “surreptitiously scrape all of an individual’s data from the servers of Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft”, the Financial Times had reported. Pegasus is professionally developed and highly advanced in its use … [52], In October 2018 Citizen Lab reported on the use of NSO software to spy on the inner circle of Jamal Khashoggi just before his murder. According to its website, NSO Group, which also goes by Q Cyber Technologies, develops technology to “help government agencies detect and prevent terrorism and crime”. "Meet NSO Group, The New Big Player In The Government Spyware Business", "U.S. Fund to Buy NSO and Its Smartphone-snooping Software", "Israeli Entrepreneurs Play Both Sides of the Cyber Wars", "Spyware's Odd Targets: Backers of Mexico's Soda Tax", "Israeli hacking company NSO Group is on sale for more than $1 billion", "Who are the hackers who cracked the iPhone? [51], In June 2018, an Israeli court indicted a former employee of NSO Group for allegedly stealing a copy of Pegasus and attempting to sell it online for $50 million worth of cryptocurrency. ... NSO Group Spyware Gas spyware has … Intercept communications sent to and from a device, including communications over iMessage, WhatsApp, Skype, Telegram, etc. Provisions under India’s proposed data protection Bill will be followed for maintaining the privacy of individuals whose sensitive personal data has been captured by... MediaNama is the premier source of information and analysis on Technology Policy in India. However, if you … Source: Pegasus Product Description. ", "Amnesty International Among Targets of NSO-powered Campaign", "APNewsBreak: Undercover agents target cybersecurity watchdog", "Undercover spy exposed in NYC was one of many", "Exposed Israeli spy linked to apparent effort by NSO Group to derail lawsuits", "Novalpina Capital and founders buy NSO at $1b co value", "Novalpina Capital buys spyware co. NSO Group & commits to helping it become more transparent | Business & Human Rights Resource Centre", "Israeli spy tech firm linked to Khashoggi murder said to freeze Saudi deals", "WhatsApp voice calls used to inject Israeli spyware on phones", "How Hackers Broke WhatsApp With Just a Phone Call", "WhatsApp Has Exposed Phones To Israeli Spyware -- Update Your Apps Now", "WhatsApp sues Israeli firm NSO over cyberespionage", "WhatsApp sues Israel's NSO for allegedly helping spies hack phones around the world", "Facebook sues Israeli company over WhatsApp spyware", "Why WhatsApp is pushing back on NSO Group hacking", "Facebook Inc. v. NSO Group Technologies Limited (3:19-cv-07123)", "Police Tracked a Terror Suspect—Until His Phone Went Dark After a Facebook Warning", "NSO Group points finger at state clients in WhatsApp spying case", "WhatsApp: Israeli firm 'deeply involved' in hacking our users", "Exclusive: How Mexican drug baron El Chapo was brought down by technology made in Israel", "This malware sold to governments could help them spy on iPhones, researchers say", "The Million Dollar Dissident: NSO Group's iPhone Zero-Days used against a UAE Human Rights Defender", "About the security content of iOS 9.3.5", "About the security content of Security Update 2016-001 El Capitan and Security Update 2016-005 Yosemite", "Bitter Sweet: Supporters of Mexico's Soda Tax Targeted With NSO Exploit Links", "An investigation of Chrysaor Malware on Android", "Spyware in Mexico Targeted Investigators Seeking Students", "Rogue CyberSecurity Company Employee Tried To Sell Powerful, Stolen iPhone Malware For $50-Million", "The Kingdom Came to Canada - How Saudi-Linked Digital Espionage Reached Canadian Soil", "Israeli Software Helped Saudis Spy on Khashoggi, Lawsuit Says", "Israeli spyware used to target Moroccan journalist, Amnesty claims", "Phone of top Catalan politician 'targeted by government-grade spyware, "This Surveillance Tool Can Find You With Just Your Telephone Number — Did These 25 Countries Buy It? More about MediaNama, and contact information, here. [19] In 2015 Francisco was seeking to sell the company for up to $1 billion. Should Amazon, Flipkart Show Country Of Origin Of Products? Pegasus instance has secretly intercepted the clear text of their communication. [18] The researchers discovered that Mexican journalist Rafael Cabrera had also been targeted, and that the software could have been used in Israel, Turkey, Thailand, Qatar, Kenya, Uzbekistan, Mozambique, Morocco, Yemen, Hungary, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, and Bahrain. Specifically, the products may only be used for the prevention and investigation of crimes,” the email said. [2][14] In June 2017, the company was put up for sale for $1 billion by Francisco Partners. Defendants subsequently complained that WhatsApp had closed the vulnerability. [21] In December 2018, a New York Times investigation concluded that Pegasus software played a role in the Khashoggi's murder, with a friend of Khashoggi stating in a filing that Saudi authorities had used the Israeli-made software to spy on the dissident. It’s not clear at this point if a buyer will be found for NSO Group. In October 2019, Amnesty uncovered targeted … Pegasus, the NSO Group, and Cyberweaponry (Part I) The amount of shady behavior technology has opened up is rather staggering. All that Pegasus can do. [56], Pegasus has been used to target and intimidate Mexican journalists by drug cartels and cartel-entwined government actors. La Vanguardia se ha puesto en contacto con NSO Group, la empresa israelí que desarrolla Pegasus.Preguntados sobre si alguien en España se ha interesado por sus servicios, un portavoz … Lavie also co-founded Kaymera, a company that creates super-secure phones for government officials. Pegasus, a spyware built by the NSO Group, was found to have infiltrated the phones of 1,400 individuals globally, including human rights activists, lawyers and activists in India. NSO Group’s Pegasus tool is used for targeted attacks and by design, is not meant for mass surveillance. >, Early versions of Pegasus were used to surveil the phone of Joaquín Guzmán, known as El Chapo. NSO responded "NSO Group does not operate the Pegasus software for its clients". [2][3][4] It employed almost 500 people as of 2017, and is based in Herzliya, near Tel Aviv, Israel.[1][5][6]. [13], Annual revenues were around US$40 million in 2013 and $150 million in 2015. Remotely turn on phone’s camera and microphone to capture activity in phone’s vicinity. The red Pegasus stayed lit atop the old Magnolia building until 1999, when the rusty symbol was removed and replaced with a shiny new version that was lit on Jan. 1, 2000. [48] The targets supported measures to reduce childhood obesity, including Mexico's "Soda Tax. These NSO-controlled computers served as the nerve centre through which NSO controlled its customers' operation and use of Pegasus." ", "Running in Circles: Uncovering the Clients of Cyberespionage Firm Circles", "Hacking a Prince, an Emir and a Journalist to Impress a Client", Office of Personnel Management data breach, Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center ransomware incident, Democratic National Committee cyber attacks, Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=NSO_Group&oldid=993231889, Mergers and acquisitions of Israeli companies, Short description is different from Wikidata, Official website different in Wikidata and Wikipedia, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 9 December 2020, at 14:24. NSO Group, which develops surveillance tools for government agencies, was accused of developing the Pegasus spyware tool that was at the heart of a … "NSO does not sell its products in many of the countries listed," the company said in an email to Citizen Lab. Specifically, Pegasus is advertised as having the following capabilities: Pegasus is a malware that NSO Group developed, which, when installed on a phone, hoovers all communications (iMessage, WhatsApp, Gmail, Viber, Facebook, Skype) and locations. Between 2014 and 2019, a San Francisco-based private equity firm, Francisco Partners Management LLC, acquired a controlling stake in the NSO Group for $120 million. Journalist Omar Radi was repeatedly targeted with NSO Group’s notorious Pegasus spyware. It can be installed on a target’s phone through a few different means: exploiting vulnerabilities such as the WhatsApp one, sending infected links to targets (spear phishing), social engineering. The other separate system, known as the “Circles Cloud”, is capable of interconnecting with telecommunications country across the globe. [30] WhatsApp told the Financial Times that "the attack has all the hallmarks of a private company known to work with governments to deliver spyware that reportedly takes over the functions of mobile phone operating systems. “Unlike NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware, the SS7 mechanism by which Circles’ product reportedly operates does not have an obvious signature on a target’s phone,” explained the report. [15], NSO's founders are ex-members of Unit 8200, the Israeli Intelligence Corps unit responsible for collecting signals intelligence. [39] Made in India. [57], In 2014, the surveillance firm, Circles merged with the NSO Group. In a 2016 email to Forbes, the NSO group had said that it did not operate any of its systems and was strictly a technology companies. [40][41], The Israeli Ministry of Defense licenses the export of Pegasus to foreign governments, but not to private entities.