We identified widespread Pegasus spyware infections within Armenian civil society. We also identified two suspected Pegasus operators in Azerbaijan, whom we call BOZBASH and YANAR.
Posts tagged “Targeted Threats”
In 2022, the Citizen Lab gained extensive forensic visibility into new NSO Group exploit activity after finding infections among members of Mexico’s civil society, including two human rights defenders from Centro PRODH, which represents victims of military abuses in Mexico.
At least five civil society victims of QuaDream’s spyware and exploits were identified in North America, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. Victims include journalists, political opposition figures, and an NGO worker. Traces of a suspected iOS 14 zero-click exploit used to deploy QuaDream’s spyware.
Ron Deibert joined Democracy Now to discuss how Citizen Lab research of a zero-click zero-day exploit—used by NSO Group—led Apple to issue a patch to over 1.65 billion products.
Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International requested that the Citizen Lab undertake an independent peer review of a sample of their forensic evidence and their general forensic methodology. We were provided with iTunes backups of several devices and a separate methodology brief, and independently validated that Amnesty International’s forensic methodology correctly identified infections with NSO’s Pegasus spyware.
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.
في شهري يوليو وأغسطس 2020 استخدم عملاءٌ حكوميون برنامج التجسس بيغاسوس “Pegasus” من مجموعة “NSO” لاختراق 36 هاتفاً شخصياً لصحفيين ومنتجين ومراسلين و مدراء تنفيذيين في قناة الجزيرة. كما تم اختراق هاتف صحفية في قناة العربي، التي مقرها لندن.
Government operatives used NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware to hack 36 personal phones belonging to journalists, producers, anchors, and executives at Al Jazeera. The journalists were hacked by four Pegasus operators, including one operator MONARCHY that we attribute to Saudi Arabia, and one operator SNEAKY KESTREL that we attribute to the United Arab Emirates.
Circles is a surveillance firm that reportedly exploits weaknesses in the global mobile phone system to snoop on calls, texts, and the location of phones around the globe, and is affiliated with NSO Group, which develops the oft-abused Pegasus spyware. Using Internet scanning, we found a unique signature associated with the hostnames of Check Point firewalls used in Circles deployments, enabling us to identify Circles deployments in at least 25 countries.
This report describes an inexpensive and technically simple phishing operation. It shows that the continued low adoption rates for digital security features, such as two factor authentication, contribute to the low bar to entry for digital espionage.