Pegasus / NSO

Pegasus, NSO, who spied on who and why, and whatnot…

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NSO Group ‘will no longer be responding to inquiries’ about misuse of its software

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Misuse?

Looks to me like it did exactly what it was designed to do

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La la la … I can’t hear you!

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If I’m being blunt, I’ll be surprised if this isn’t just the tip of the iceberg.

SMDH (shaking my digital head)

https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2021/07/nso-group-hacked.html

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To echo one the best comments I ever read on the internet, not only have the horses left the barn, they’re giving lectures on proper barn-door procedure.

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“It’s all Ben & Jerry’s fault!”

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WhatsApp chief Will Cathcart has said that findings from the new investigation into NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware coincide with what the app learned about an attack on its users in 2019. Cathcart also questioned NSO’s claim that a list of thousands of phone numbers central to the investigation is an exaggeration, pointing out that the WhatsApp hack targeted 1,400 people over a two-week period.

[…]

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Morocco has decided to sue Amnesty International for libel

and this bad take is shared by at least one Indian pol.

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Looks to me like it did exactly what it was designed to do

To rant recap, my take on the narrative is (at the risk of trouble at the border)

  • 9/11 catches the spy agencies playing careerist games instead of locking up Bad Guys,
  • In the CYA panic that follows the narrative is of needles missed in a haystack, and the solution is to make the biggest haystack in the world, which means getting a really big budget to look for needles, win-win,
  • but those darn lefty WW2 veteran politicians put content limits on the haystack so,
  • Google, Palantir and their fellow travellers get massive subsidies to build a surveillance infrastructure that would make the Stasi blush, squandering the intellectual effort of a generation, who think it’s all about sharing cat videos and doing smart advertising (the smart advertising is probably zero value, but there’s no money in noticing that).

I always assume that whatever I can imagine to be technically possible is being done by anyone with modest motive and access to the hardware or software (the movie has scenes where Their Team’s phone mics are turned on to spy for Our Team). After nearly 40 years of this, I’ve yet to have this assumption significantly contradicted (although confirmation is usually 5 to 10 years in coming, lots of time for people to call me paranoid… :slightly_frowning_face: Edit: and it’s usually worse than I thought…)

For me, the only hopes stem from (a) Our Team being generally oriented towards liberal democracy, and (b) from humans being generally undisciplined and incompetent.

Sadly, both hopes fail me from time to time… although this leak confirms the hope (b) lives yet…

Commercial operations like NSO Group are just catching up. I get by on the hope that when I’m personally a victim it’s by Our Team, not Their Team; Pegasus makes that less likely.

@GulliverFoyle Tip of the iceberg? Nah, I see a snowdrift and I think the rest is ice all the way down, with a layer of pseudo-psychological, broadly ineffective, operant conditioning on the top…

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Yeah… I get a “small country problem” feel from this, in this case “small but deeply well-educated country”. I think this sort of product developed in North America would have attracted attention and, with that, a few discrete conversations over a cup of tea.

Small countries, in my experience, sometimes simply lack the resources to regulate the problem.

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NSO Group’s Pegasus malware was used to spy on Dubai princess’s lawyers during child custody dispute

Cherie Blair tipped off a Jordanian princess that the royal’s estranged husband, the Sheikh of Dubai, had deployed NSO Group’s Pegasus malware against her and her lawyers, a series of explosive High Court judgments [PDFs] have revealed.

Set against a backdrop of kidnappings, espionage and a bitterly contested child custody case, the judgments shine fresh light on the abusive uses to which NSO Group’s malware products are put by some of its customers.

[…]

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