Israeli software used to spy on activists, journalists, panel says

In total, more than a hundred people around the world have been targeted by these “cyber-weapons”.

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A story worthy of a thriller. Several governments have used computer spy tools developed by an Israeli group to target politicians, dissidents, journalists, academics and human rights activists, experts said Thursday (July 15th).

These powerful “cyber weapons” have targeted a total of more than 100 people worldwide, say messages from a security officer at Microsoft and Citizen Lab, an organization based at the University of Toronto.

Microsoft claims to have modified its Windows operating system to repair the flaws exploited by the Israeli group. According to Citizen Lab, it is a particularly low-key Tel Aviv-based company that exclusively sells spyware to governments that can infect smartphones, computers and cloud computing services. Its official name is currently Saito Tech Ltd but it is mostly known as Candiru.

Its Citizen Lab researchers found evidence that the spy software was able to extract information from several applications used by victims, including Gmail, Skype, Telegram and Facebook.

According to the computer company, which dubbed the spyware “DevilsTongue”, it was able to infiltrate popular sites like Facebook, Twitter, Gmail and Yahoo to collect information, read messages from victims and retrieve photos.

“We have shared protections with the security community so that we can collectively address and mitigate this threat.”Microsoft said.

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