Sunday, September 24, 2023

From AP:
BOSTON (AP) — A leading Egyptian opposition politician was targeted with spyware multiple times after announcing a presidential bid — including with malware that automatically infects smartphones, security researchers have found. They say Egyptian authorities were likely behind the attempted hacks.

Discovery of the malware last week by researchers at Citizen Lab and Google’s Threat Analysis Group prompted Apple to rush out operating system updates for iPhones, iPads, Mac computers and Apple Watches to patch the associated vulnerabilities.

Citizen Lab said in a blog post that attempts beginning in August to hack former Egpytian lawmaker Ahmed Altantawy involved configuring his phone’s connection to the Vodaphone Egypt mobile network to automatically infect it with Predator spyware if he visited certain websites not using the secure HTTPS protocol.

Prior to that, Citizen Lab said, attempts were made beginning in May to hack Altantawy’s phone with Predator via links in SMS and WhatsApp messages that he would have had to click on to become infected.

Once infected, the Predator spyware turns a smartphone into a remote eavesdropping device and lets the attacker siphon off data.

Given that Egypt is a known customer of Predator’s maker, Cytrox, and the spyware was delivered via network injection from Egyptian soil, Citizen Lab said it had “high confidence” Egypt’s government was behind the attack.
Notice anything missing?

Whenever the media reports on spyware from an Israeli company, they always prominently mention Israel. But when the spyware comes from a different country - in this case, North Macedonia and Hungary - no one says a word.

When Ken Roth was criticized for always mentioning Israel in connection to Pegasus spyware, when it is a private company, he justified that by saying that Israeli export laws allowed the spyware to be sold to countries that are less than paradigms of freedom and democracy. But when it comes to these other companies, the countries that allow them to sell their wares to places like Egypt are not even mentioned in the articles, or by Roth. 

Earlier this year, the US Department of Commerce announced they were blacklisting four spyware firms:

Today, the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) added four entities, Intellexa S.A. in Greece, Cytrox Holdings Crt in Hungary, Intellexa Limited in Ireland, and Cytrox AD in North Macedonia to the Entity List for trafficking in cyber exploits used to gain access to information systems, threatening the privacy and security of individuals and organizations worldwide.
Where were all the anguished articles about how Greece and Hungary and Ireland and North Macedonia were peddling tools to repressive governments to target dissidents?

They were never written. But the New York Times did cover part of this story - by highlighting not the countries that allowed these exports, but the Israeli connection to two of the four companies.

If spyware doesn't come from Israel, or is not connected to Israel, the media's interest in the stories plummets to practically nothing.  

This is the textbook definition of media bias.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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