Digital Empire

Questions You Should be Asking the World Around You

Israeli Malware Exclusively Sold to Governments. Malware That is Used to Silence Journalists

Hmmm. Is this why Bloomberg is desperate to deflect attention away from Israel and onto China?

From Techdirt

Israeli Tech Company’s Spyware Still Being Used To Target Journalists And Activists

Israeli exploit/malware developer NSO Group says its products are marketed to governments for legitimate national security and law enforcement purposes. Yet somehow it keeps ending up in the hands of governments with terrible human rights records and deployed against journalists, dissent groups, and activists.
The software sold by NSO is being deployed against journalists in Mexico — ones looking to expose government corruption. This report by the Columbia Journalism Review provides more details on the hacks, building off Citizen Lab’s exposure of NSO’s “Pegasus” spyware.

Mexico has been ground zero for Pegasus’s deployment against journalists. At least six reporters have been targeted there, according to exhaustive research by both Citizen Lab and the Mexican digital rights group R3D. Those attacks coincided with major journalistic investigations that challenged the Mexican government. For example: three reporters who were targeted worked on the “Casa Blanca Scandal,” a major story exposing how Mexico’s first lady was given a mansion by a government contractor who later received lucrative contracts. Mexican television journalist Carlos Loret de Mola was targeted while he was reporting on extrajudicial killings. Although three Mexican federal agencies have access to Pegasus, the government has denied it ever launched any attacks on reporters.

This is more of the same for NSO’s spyware. Citizen Lab also uncovered use of the software by notorious humans rights violators like Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, and the United Arab Emirates. In many cases, deployments targeted critics and activists, rather than criminals or national security threats. The deployments are disturbing enough. The tactics are even worse:

The targets received SMS messages that included links to NSO exploits paired with troubling personal and sexual taunts, messages impersonating official communications by the Embassy of the United States in Mexico, fake AMBER Alerts, warnings of kidnappings, and other threats.

CJR’s report is supposed to act as a warning for journalists around the world. They are targets, no matter what their governments say and no matter how NSO frames its pitches.
And we’re not completely immune to this in the United States. Although any deployment against journalists would be viewed as a serious violation of Constitutional rights, the fact is US government agencies are seeking to purchase NSO’s spyware for use in their work. The DEA has met with NSO in the recent past and the agency’s own past suggests it isn’t above violating rights to further its own ends. No rights violations have been seen yet but, as we’ve seen before, the government is willing to impersonate journalists to track down suspects. Infecting journalists’ phones to track down leakers and whistleblowers isn’t that much of a step forward.

https://www .techdirt .com/articles/20181004/09334340780/israeli-tech-companys-spyware-still-being-used-to-target-journalists-activists.shtml

Meltdown and Spectre. Built in backdoors?

-Again, the CPU exploits in play here are extremely technical, but in a nutshell, the exploit allows access to your operating system’s sacrosanct kernel memory because of how the processors handle “speculative execution,” which modern chips perform to increase performance. An attacker can exploit these CPU vulnerabilities to expose extremely sensitive data in the protected kernel memory, including passwords, cryptographic keys, personal photos, emails, or any other data on your PC.

-Meltdown is the more serious exploit, and the one that operating systems are rushing to fix. It “breaks the most fundamental isolation between user applications and the operating system,” according to Google. This flaw most strongly affects Intel processors because of the aggressive way they handle speculative execution, though a few ARM cores are also susceptible.

-Google says “effectively every” Intel processor released since 1995 is vulnerable to Meltdown, regardless of the OS you’re running or whether you have a desktop or laptop.

https://www .pcworld .com/article/3245606/security/intel-x86-cpu-kernel-bug-faq-how-it-affects-pc-mac.html

Maybe this is how journalists are blackmailed by Israel. Intel itself is an Israeli company. Imagine the video card software taking screenshots and sending them back to Mossad at lightning speeds. Some people still think that Intel is a US company in Santa Clara.


Israel Inside: A history of Intel’s R&D in Israel. August 28 2018

-Intel is Israel’s biggest private-sector employer and has been behind some of its best-known projects, from the Pentium M to Cloverview.

-“Intel Israel’s biggest contribution has been in the development of microprocessors, which are being used in a wide variety of products, for desktop, mobile, and workstation solutions,” says Friedman. “We also do work on connectivity products and security technologies here, as well as development of digital devices.”

-Among the technologies recently worked on by the Israeli team are Cedarview, Intel’s new processor for netbooks, and Cloverview, the processor that will be used in the new Windows 8 tablets due later this year.

-And of course, there are the current Intel stars: the Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge family of processors, all designed, manufactured, and managed by the Israel team.

-At a recent press conference, Intel revealed that Sandy Bridge was responsible for 40 percent of the company’s sales worldwide in 2011.

-Some of those technologies could include enhancing video streaming — building on the Intel WiDi (wireless display) technology developed by Intel Israel; enhanced connectivity using Thunderbolt (or other connectivity technologies), also largely developed in Israel; and enhancements to Intel’s security software (Intel’s IPT — Identity Protection Technology — was developed in Israel).

https://www .zdnet .com/article/israel-inside-a-history-of-intels-r-d-in-israel/

Intel announces 8th-gen processors developed in Israel. June 10 2018.

At COMPUTEX Taipei 2018 this week, Intel announced the launch this fall of two new-generation processors developed in Israel: the Whiskey Lake for laptops and Amber Lake for 2-in-1 computers.

These processors will enable a double-digit performance improvement and support 1Gbps surfing. They’ll be integrated into 140 models of computers, according to a statement from Intel.

Intel established a presence in Israel in 1974 in Haifa with five employees. Today the company directly employs about 10,000 Israelis at development centers in Haifa, Yakum, Petah Tikva and Jerusalem, as well as manufacturing-related facilities in Kiryat Gat and Jerusalem. Some 60% of Intel’s Israeli employees are in R&D, while half support high-volume manufacturing of microprocessors that power the world’s computing devices

https://www .israel21c .org/intel-announces-8th-gen-processors-developed-in-israel/

How Intel came to be Israel’s best tech friend. April 23 2015.

Intel Israel is also a prolific exporter. “One billion chips can’t be wrong,” Eden said, citing the estimated number of microprocessors and processor components Intel Israel has manufactured at its chip fabrication plants – mostly at its two Kiryat Gat facilities – over the past 40 years.

https://www .timesofisrael .com/how-intel-came-to-be-israels-best-tech-friend/



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This entry was posted on 10/09/2018 by in Asia, Middle East, NA, Russia and tagged , , , , , .

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