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Israeli spyware used against Saudi Arabian dissident in Canada

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10/06/2018 03:34 PM
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Israeli spyware used against Saudi Arabian dissident in Canada
The Herzliya-based NSO Group uses its controversial Pegasus spyware program to turn smartphones into listening devices. It has been accused of selling the technology to countries, including Saudi Arabia, who use it to spy on dissidents, journalists, and others.

The Citizen Lab, a group of academics from Toronto University, said it has “high confidence” that the Israeli technology was used to spy on 27-year-old Omar Abdulaziz, an outspoken Saudi dissident who sought asylum in Canada.

The hacking came at the same time as an escalating spat between Canada and Saudi Arabia after Ottawa criticized Riyadh’s human rights record. In response Saudi Arabia expelled Canada’s ambassador.

According to Citizen Lab, Abdulaziz, a frequent critic of Saudi Arabia human rights abuses who fled to Canada and now studies in Quebec, had his phone infected after clicking on a link masquerading as a tracker for a package he ordered, but was actually a Pegasus exploit link.

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