The Independent has shed light on an episode of the program “What is hidden is greater”, in which Al-Jazeera revealed that dozens of activists around the world, in addition to journalists in the same network, have been subjected to piracy by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, using malicious Israeli-made software.
The British newspaper reported that the Cyber Security Research Center of the University of Toronto, Canada, “Citizen Lab”, confirmed that the “Pegasus” spyware hit the phones of 36 Al-Jazeera journalists, and that this program manufactured by the Israeli group “NSO” was used in The former to prosecute opponents in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
According to the “Citizen Lab”, the coordinated attack on Al-Jazeera was the largest piracy operation targeting one organization, and it took place last July, just weeks before the administration of US President Donald Trump announced the normalization of relations between Israel and the UAE.
Analysts suggested – according to the Independent report – that the aforementioned normalization would lead to stronger cooperation in espionage between Israel and the Arab Gulf states, in reference to the UAE and Bahrain.
“Hacking the phones of Al Jazeera journalists is very scary,” said Bill Marzak, a senior researcher at “Citizen Lab.” “Maybe you were using your phone normally and did not know that someone is looking at everything you do.”
The Independent also quoted the security official in the Israeli “Check Point” company, Yaniv Palmas, that the attack on Al-Jazeera represents the tip of the iceberg only.
Palmas added, “Piracy should not be overt … and it is assumed that it occurs all the time and everywhere.”