NSO has denied any involvement in Khashoggi's death, and insists that its software is "only for use in combating terrorism and crime".
The company was condemned as "worst of the worst" by the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden during a video conference with an Israeli audience in November November.
"The NSO group in today's world, based on the evidence we have, is the worst worst thing to sell these burglary tools that are actively violating the human rights of dissidents, opposition numbers, and activists," Snowden said.
I witnessed Pegasus' power two years ago. Checkpoint mobile security experts, one of the world leaders in security security, showed me how to hack a phone with one click, get full access to the microphone, camera, keyboard and data.
They say malicious software they used was similar to Pegasus: An obvious innocent message occurred on my phone and asked me to update my settings, and that was all they needed to access the phone.
Cyber security expert Michael Shaulov launched a cyber security start in 201
"Even when [NSO Group sells] the software to specifically the law enforcement agency specifically bought it, if they want to go for what we call unauthorized targets, the NSO has no control [over it]," he says. "They can't really prevent it."
The NSO Group says it can monitor the use of all software by all its customers, but would need to actively monitor how customers used their products before becoming aware of any abuse.
The company's technology utilizes what is called "null days" – hidden vulnerabilities in operating systems and apps that give elite hackers access to the phone's internal features. The term stems from the fact that software developers have not had time to fix them.
Companies like NSO have team of scientists continuously reverse technology Apple and Android operating system to find errors in the code that they can utilize, Shaulov says, describing the process of finding zero days as an "art" in it basically black and the white world of cyber security.
The outstanding focus of the NSO group on mobile devices has made them the "alpha dog" in the market, Shaulov says. 19659002] Finding a zero day can take anywhere from a few months to more than a year, and there is little guarantee for its long-term efficiency. But if the weakness is not solved, it can be used repeatedly to hack phones. Software developers like Apple and Google have teams dedicated to finding and fixing vulnerabilities, but it's not easier for them than for hackers to find the weak link. In addition, the developer's priorities can be elsewhere, so even known bugs remain unchanged.
"Unless Apple or Google fixes that bug, the vulnerability can stay for many years, and NSO can continually sell programs that can go through these bugs in the software and infect these phones," Shaulov says.
Khashoggi: "God help us"
The software can infect a phone after a single click on a link in a false text message, giving hackers full access to the phone. Data stored in the phone, messages, phone calls and even GPS position data are visible so that hackers can see where someone is, who he or she is talking to and about what.
In the case of Khashoggi, Citizen Lab researchers say that the text message went to Abdulaziz, disguised as a freight update on a package he just ordered. The link, which Citizen Lab says traced to a domain linked to Pegasus, led Abdulaziz's phone to become infected with malware, giving hackers access to almost the entire phone, including his daily Khashoggi conversations.
In a Text Before His Death on October 2 at. Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul, Khashoggi learned that his conversation with Abdulaziz may have been intercepted. "God helps us," he wrote. CNN got access to the correspondence between Khashoggi and Montreal-based activist Abdulaziz.
Two months later, Khashoggi came into the building for what he thought was a routine meeting to retrieve paper that would allow him to marry his Turkish-engaged Hatice Cengiz. Minutes later he was killed in what the Saudi lawyer later admitted was a preventive murder.
The Saudis have presented varying stories of Khashoggi's fate, first to deny any knowledge before claiming that a group of rogue operators, many of whom belong to the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's inner circle, was responsible for the journalist's death.
Riyadh claims that neither bin Salman nor King Salman knew about the operation to target Khashoggi. However, US officials have said such a mission – including 15 men sent from Riyadh – could not have been carried out without the permission of bin Salman.
NSO speaks out
In it The first interview given by the NSO Group since the company was involved in the Khashoggi case, CEO Shalev Hulio categorically refused to engage in the tracking of the Saudi journalist or his killing. Hanio said he had a shocking murder, says Hulio that after checks by the NSO Group, the company would have shown whether their software had been used to track a journalist immediately.
"We did a thorough check on all our customers, not just a client who might be a potential suspect involved in the case, but also other customers who might be interested in following him for some reason," explained Hulio in the interview. Yedioth Ahronoth, one of Israel's largest newspapers. "We controlled all our customers, both through conversations with them and through a foolproof technical control. The systems produce their own documentation, and it is not possible to act against this or that goal without us being able to control it."
"I say in the record that after all these checks, no NSO product or technology was used on Khashoggi, and that includes tapping, monitoring, locating or collecting intelligence. Exclamation marks! The story is simply not true." 19659018] Saudi prosecutors seek death penalty when Khashoggi murder trial opens ” data-src-mini=”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/181025171830-jamal-khashoggi-small-169.jpg” data-src-xsmall=”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/181025171830-jamal-khashoggi-medium-plus-169.jpg” data-src-small=”http://cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/181025171830-jamal-khashoggi-large-169.jpg” data-src-medium=”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/181025171830-jamal-khashoggi-exlarge-169.jpg” data-src-large=”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/181025171830-jamal-khashoggi-super-169.jpg” data-src-full16x9=”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/181025171830-jamal-khashoggi-full-169.jpg” data-src-mini1x1=”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/181025171830-jamal-khashoggi-small-11.jpg” data-demand-load=”not-loaded” data-eq-pts=”mini: 0, xsmall: 221, small: 308, medium: 461, large: 781″ src=”data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhEAAJAJEAAAAAAP///////wAAACH5BAEAAAIALAAAAAAQAAkAAAIKlI+py+0Po5yUFQA7″/>