Canadian Citizen Lab: A new Israeli spyware similar to Pegasus targets journalists and politicians in several countries


Canadian Citizen Lab revealed on Tuesday that a new Israeli spyware similar to the notorious Pegasus was used to target journalists and opposition politicians in several countries.

The Canadian lab, which deals with cyberspace, global security and human rights, said that the spyware was designed by a little-known Israeli company called Quadream Ltd., founded by a former Israeli military official and former veteran employees of the NSO Company that produced Pegasus spyware.

The Canadian Citizen Lab, which monitors the misuse of modern electronic devices, was able to identify at least five people who were targeted by the Quadream spyware in North America, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

The list of victims includes journalists, opposition political figures, and a worker in a non-governmental organization, however the lab didn’t reveal their identities at the present time.

Spyware programs such as Pegasus have previously been widely used by governments and other agencies to spy on dissidents, the media and activists.

The White House said in late March that governments had used Pegasus to facilitate repression and enable human rights abuses.

The Canadian Citizen Lab said that the Quadream spyware, after being installed on the user’s phone or personal computer, can record calls and external sounds, take pictures from cameras, and search in device files without the user’s knowledge.

The program can also generate two-factor authentication codes, that is, a password and a security code, to secure continuous access to the device owner’s cloud accounts.

The Canadian Citizen Lab added that the spyware includes a self-destruct feature to hide its previous existence once it’s not used.

Citizen Lab identified servers in 10 countries that received data from victims’ devices, including Israel, Singapore, Mexico, the UAE and Bulgaria.

The Israeli Quadream company marketed the spyware it produces to government clients in Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Ghana, Indonesia, Morocco and others.

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