An Israeli Innovation: Covert Data Retrieval from Smartphones

NSO Group Technologies, an Israeli company founded by a group of alumni of the Israeli Defense Forces' 8200 division, one of the military's elite intelligence units, has developed a tool that can covertly and remotely retrieve all of the information stored on smartphones. The product, named “Pegasus”, is currently being marketed to law enforcement authorities around the world, with the approval of the Defense Export Controls Agency of the Israeli Ministry of Defense, which has already issued dozens of export licenses for the product. The unique feature of Pegasus is in its operation, which does not entail intrusion to the cellular network. Rather, the smartphone is infiltrated without the knowledge of cellular network carrier or the smartphone user, and without injecting malicious software code to the smartphone itself. According to the company’s founder, Pegasus only requires the telephone number of the target device, an internet connection and an electronic signal. In addition to retrieving information stored on the smartphone, Pegasus, which functions as a sophisticated intelligence-gathering system, enables the remote operation of the device’s microphone for eavesdropping purposes. Source: Globes (in Hebrew, by Ran Dagoni).