(Montreal) New Israeli-made spyware, resembling the Pegasus program, has been used to target journalists and politicians in several countries, according to Canadian research lab Citizen Lab.
The spyware was created by the company QuaDream Ltd, itself founded by a former Israeli military official and former member of the Israeli company NSO Group, the creator of Pegasus, says the organization specializing in cybersecurity issues.
According to the latter, at least five people have been targeted by the software in North America, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe and the Middle East.
“The victims include journalists, political opposition figures and a member of an NGO,” the organization said, adding that it would not identify them at this time.
The subject of private spyware has risen to the forefront of the international scene following the cascading revelations around the Pegasus software, exported by the company NSO.
In July 2021, a coordinated multi-media investigation uncovered a list of over 50,000 names of individuals who may have been monitored through Pegasus.
These allegations have triggered scandals and sometimes legal proceedings in several countries, including the creation of a special commission of inquiry in the European Parliament.
Citizen Lab explained that once placed on the phone or computer, QuaDream’s spyware can record the sound of a phone call, take pictures, and search files on the device…all at the knowledge of the user.
The software also allows access to data stored on the “cloud” (remotely) and further includes a self-destruct function to hide its presence once it is no longer in use.
Citizen Lab has identified servers in ten countries that received data from victims’ devices, including Israel, Singapore, Mexico, the United Arab Emirates and Bulgaria.
QuaDream has sold this spyware to governments including Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Ghana, Indonesia and Morocco, Citizen Lab said.