CyberNews Briefs

NSO Group facing renewed backlash after helping repressive Bahraini Government hack iPhones of politicians, activists

Citizen Lab recently released a report detailing how the controversial Israeli company NSO Group supplied surveillance tools to the repressive government of Bahrain from June 2020 to February 2021. The company has face international backlash since it was revealed that it aided dozens of organizations in spying on world leaders, activists, journalists, and other individuals. The NSO Group created the Pegasus spyware, a powerful tool that lets users spy on targets, granting access to text messages, emails, screen recordings, microphones, and cameras. The report from Citizen Lab stated that nine activists from Bahrain had their iPhones hacked with spyware, some of which were attacked through zero-click iMessage exploits.

The Bahrain government used both the FORCEDENTRY exploit and the 2020 KISMET exploit to hack into the phones of the individuals, some of which were dissidents living in London. One of the victims was a politician, according to the report. At least for of the activists was hacked by LULU, a Pegasus operator that has been linked to the government of Bahrain, Citizen Lab reported. One of the activists was hacked in 2020 just hours after an interview in which the individual stated that their phone was hacked with Pegasus in 2019.

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