“Michael Flynn Worked With Foreign Cyberweapons Group That Sold Spyware Used Against Political Dissidents” -Huffington Post

Huffington Post
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Summary: ” Instead, he forwarded the messages to Citizen Lab. WASHINGTON ― While serving as a top campaign aide to Donald Trump, foregoing national security adviser Michael Flynn made tens of thousands of dollars on the side advising a company that sold surveillance technology that repressive governments used to monitor activists, and journalists. The day at the end of that, the sender wrote, “You are an asshole Simon, while you’re working I’m fucking your old lady here is a photo.” The final text Barquera received in August said that his daughter was in “grave condition” after an accident and included a link that would supposedly tell him just where she was being treated. Flynn’s financial disclosure forms don’t specify the work he did, for companies linked to NSO Group and his lawyer didn’t respond to requests for comment. Simón Barquera, researcher at Mexico’s National Institute, for Public Health, received a text on July 11, 2016, inviting him to click a link the sender said would lead him to a detailed investigation of his clinic. He also had a spot on the advisory council at Palo Alto Networks, a San Francisco-based cybersecurity company with offices in the D.C. OSY Technologies is part of a corporate structure that runs from Israel, just where NSO Group is located, through Luxembourg, the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands and the U.S. Flynn received $40,280 last year as an advisory board member, for OSY Technologies, an NSO Group offshoot based in Luxembourg, a favorite tax haven for major corporations. Flynn also worked as a consultant last year, for Francisco Partners, a U.S.-based private equity firm that owns NSO Group but he didn’t disclose just how much he was paid. “They’re basically digital arms merchants.” The month prior to Flynn joined the advisory board of OSY Technologies, NSO Group opened up a new arm called WestBridge Technologies, Inc., in the D.C. In addition to his advisory board seat at OSY Technologies, he sat on the boards of Adobe Systems, a large software company with Pentagon contracts and the boards of the cybersecurity companies GreenZone Systems and HALO Privacy. “There is a lot of opportunity in the U.S. It does seem questionable.”   What is clear is that during such time time Flynn was working, for NSO’s Luxembourg affiliate, one of the company’s main products — a spy software sold exclusively to governments and marketed as a tool for law enforcement officials to monitor suspected criminals and terrorists — was being used to surveil political dissidents, reporters, activists and government officials. Citizen Lab researchers have also pointed out texts sent last summer to Mexican journalist Rafael Cabrera that they believe were an try to infect his phone with NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware. Citizen Lab soon determined that NSO Group’s malware exploited an undisclosed mobile phone vulnerability, known as a zero-day exploit, that enabled its customers ― that is, foreign governments ― to surveil a target’s phone following the target clicked the link included in the phishing text message. In February 2017, Citizen Lab released a new report linking NSO Group’s technology to the phishing attempts targeting the pro-soda tax campaigners. Two of those entities are directly linked to NSO Group, a secretive Israeli cyberweapons dealer founded by Omri Lavie, and Shalev Hulio, who’re rumored to have served in Unit 8200, the Israeli equivalent of the National Security Agency. Across the globe in Mexico, just where Coca-Cola, and PepsiCo were working to repeal a tax on sodas imposed in 2014, two activists and a government-employed scientist, all of whom supported the soda tax, received a series of suspicious text messages. If Mansoor had clicked that link, his “phone would’ve become a digital spy in his pocket, capable of employing his phone camera and microphone to snoop on activity in the vicinity of the device, recording his WhatsApp and Viber calls, logging messages sent in mobile chat apps and tracking his movements,” Citizen Lab wrote in a report. With the chip in of knowledgeable experts at the computer security firm Lookout, Citizen Lab researchers were able to trace amount the spyware hidden in the texts back to NSO Group spyware. Citizen Lab believes NSO Group might have also sold its mobile phone spying technology to numerous governments, including those of Kenya, Mozambique, Yemen, Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Thailand, Morocco, Hungary, Nigeria, and Bahrain.”

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