NSO Group allegedly provided software to Saudi Govt. to spy on Khashoggi; Citizen Lab who reported it in turn targeted by undercover agents

NSO Group, an Israeli cyber security firm allegedly provided the Saudi government with the softwar to spy on conversations with the journalist Jamal Khashoggi before his killing. The researchers who reported this are now being targeted in turn by international undercover operatives. NSO denied having anything to do with the undercover operations targeting Citizen Lab, “either directly or indirectly” and said it had neither hired nor asked anyone to hire private investigators to pursue the Canadian organization.

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Article
28 January 2019

Citizen Lab targeted by undercover operatives after exposing NSO Group's connection to Khashoggi’s murder

Author: Raphael Satter, The Associated Press, in Seattle Times (USA)

"APNewsBreak: Undercover agents target cybersecurity watchdog", 25 Jan 2019

[R]esearchers who reported that Israeli software was used to spy on...journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s inner circle before his...death are being targeted...by international undercover operatives... Twice in the past two months, men masquerading as socially conscious investors have lured members of the Citizen Lab internet watchdog group to meetings at luxury hotels to quiz them for hours about their work exposing Israeli surveillance and the details of their personal lives... [T]he researchers believe they were secretly recorded. Citizen Lab,...played a leading role in exposing state-backed hackers operating in...Tibet , Ethiopia and Syria . [They drew] [a]ttention for its repeated exposés...NSO Group,... whose wares have been used by governments to target journalists in Mexico, opposition...in Panama and... rights activists in the Middle East... NSO denied having anything to do with the undercover operations targeting Citizen Lab, “either directly or indirectly” and said it had neither hired nor asked anyone to hire private investigators to pursue the Canadian organization. “Any suggestion to the contrary is factually incorrect and nothing more than baseless speculation...”. NSO has long denied that its software was used to target Khashoggi, although it...refused to comment when asked whether it...sold its software to the Saudi government...generally... 

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Article
21 December 2018

Khashoggi friend files lawsuit in Israel against NSO Group for allegedly providing software to Saudi Govt. to spy on their conversations

Author: Shannon Van Sant, NPR (USA)

"Khashoggi Friend Accuses Cyber Security Firm Of Helping Saudis Spy On Their Messages", 3 Dec 2018

A Saudi dissident based in Montreal, Canada, filed a lawsuit this week against the NSO Group, an Israeli cyber security firm. The suit alleges the Saudi government used software from the company to spy on conversations with the journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Omar Adbulaziz filed the case in Tel Aviv...[H]e had exchanged hundreds of text messages with Khashoggi through encrypted messaging apps, before being informed that their communication had been intercepted.

"Jamal was killed two months later. For sure the conversations between us played a major role in what happened to Jamal," Abdulaziz said...

Researcher Bill Marczak, from the Toronto-based Citizen Lab which investigates digital espionage, told NPR he found evidence of spyware activity in Montreal that he believed was linked to the NSO Group and Saudi Arabia last summer.

NSO Group issued a statement saying the lawsuit is "completely unfounded" and that it "shows no evidence that the company's technology was used."...

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