Proliferation of cyberattack capabilities

2017-02-14

in Geek stuff, Internet matters, Law, Politics, Security

This is an interesting case: Spyware’s Odd Targets: Backers of Mexico’s Soda Tax

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. February 14, 2017 at 2:40 pm

“The links sent to the men were laced with an invasive form of spyware developed by NSO Group, an Israeli cyberarms dealer that sells its digital spy tools exclusively to governments and that has contracts with multiple agencies inside Mexico, according to company emails leaked to The New York Times last year.

NSO Group and the dozens of other commercial spyware outfits that have cropped up around the globe over the past decade operate in a largely unregulated market. Spyware makers like NSO Group, Hacking Team in Italy and Gamma Group in Britain insist they sell tools only to governments for criminal and terrorism investigations.”

. February 14, 2017 at 2:47 pm

““This is proof that surveillance in Mexico is out of control,” said Luis Fernando García, the director of the Red en Defensa de los Derechos Digitales, a Mexican digital rights nonprofit better known by the acronym R3D. “When we have proof that this surveillance is being used against nutritional activists, it’s clear Mexico should not be given these technologies.”

NSO Group’s motto is “Make the World a Safer Place.” But its spyware is increasingly turning up on the phones of journalists, dissidents and human rights activists.

NSO spyware was discovered on the phone of a human-rights activist in the United Arab Emirates and a prominent Mexican journalist in August. Researchers at the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs discovered NSO had exploited flaws in Apple software — since patched — to infiltrate the phones of the Emirati activist and the Mexican journalist, Rafael Cabrera.”

. February 14, 2017 at 2:49 pm

Much like a traditional software company, the NSO Group prices its surveillance tools by the number of targets, starting with a flat $500,000 installation fee. To spy on 10 iPhone users, NSO charges government agencies $650,000; $650,000 for 10 Android users; $500,000 for five BlackBerry users; or $300,000 for five Symbian users — on top of the setup fee, according to one commercial proposal.

You can pay for more targets. One hundred additional targets will cost $800,000, 50 extra targets cost $500,000, 20 extra will cost $250,000 and 10 extra costs $150,000, according to an NSO Group commercial proposal. There is an annual system maintenance fee of 17 percent of the total price every year thereafter.

What that gets you, NSO Group documents say, is “unlimited access to a target’s mobile devices.” In short, the company says: You can “remotely and covertly collect information about your target’s relationships, location, phone calls, plans and activities — whenever and wherever they are.”

. February 14, 2017 at 2:56 pm

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