Front Line Defenders’ analysis indicated that six devices belonging to six Palestinian human rights defenders were hacked with Pegasus, a spyware developed by the cyber-surveillance company NSO Group. Both the Citizen Lab and Amnesty International’s Security Lab independently confirmed these findings.
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Our forensic analysis of two iPhones belonging to Hubbard found evidence of Pegasus infections in July 2020 and June 2021. Notably, these infections occurred after Hubbard reported in January 2020 that we found that he was targeted in 2018 by the Saudi Arabia-linked Pegasus operator that we call KINGDOM.
While analyzing the phone of a Saudi activist infected with NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware, we discovered a zero-day zero-click exploit against iMessage. The exploit, which we call FORCEDENTRY, targets Apple’s image rendering library, and was effective against Apple iOS, MacOS and WatchOS devices.
The Citizen Lab, OutRight Action International, and the Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI) collaborated to conduct research on LGBTIQ website censorship and its impact on LGBTIQ communities. The results indicate the technical and legal obstacles many users have in accessing LGBTIQ news, health, and human rights websites.
لقد حددنا تسعة نشطاء بحرينيين تم اختراق أجهزتهم الآيفون باستخدام برنامج تجسس “Pegasus” من NSO Group في الفترة ما بين يونيو 2020 و فبراير 2021. بعض النشطاء قد تم اختراقهم باستغلال ثغرتين zero-click في iMessage, كنا قد سمينا الثغرتين التي تم اكتشافها في 2020 ب KISMET، أما الثغرة المستخدمة في 2021 فنسميها FORCEDENTRY
We identified nine Bahraini activists whose iPhones were successfully hacked with NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware between June 2020 and February 2021. The hacked activists included three members of Waad (a secular Bahraini political society), three members of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, two exiled Bahraini dissidents, and one member of Al Wefaq (a Shiite Bahraini political society).
Within mainland China, we found that Apple censors political content including broad references to Chinese leadership and China’s political system, names of dissidents and independent news organizations, and general terms relating to religions, democracy, and human rights. And across all six regions, we found that Apple’s content moderation practices pertaining to derogatory, racist, or sexual content are inconsistently applied and that Apple’s public-facing documents failed to explain how it derives their keyword lists.
Candiru is a secretive Israel-based company that sells spyware exclusively to governments. Using Internet scanning, we identified more than 750 websites linked to Candiru’s spyware infrastructure. We found many domains masquerading as advocacy organizations such as Amnesty International, the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as media companies, and other civil-society themed entities.
The Information Controls Fellowship Program (ICFP) from the Open Technology Fund (OTF) supports research into how governments in countries, regions, or areas of OTF’s core focus are restricting freedom of speech and other human rights online. Apply for the 2021 Fellowship to work with the Citizen Lab.
In its most recent response to the Citizen Lab regarding the The Great iPwn report, NSO Group extended an invitation to meet and discuss the Citizen Lab’s concerns and NSO Group’s “program” in more detail. We do not believe this invitation is made in good faith and have declined.