Algeria, since August 2017, along with 15 Arab countries, has been the target of espionage by the Israeli company “SNO” specialized in digital warfare, through an electronic spy program called “Pegasus”, which infiltrates into the phones and this spying device is said to be highly developed and undetectable.
A report published by “Al Jazeera Net” revealed the most dangerous electronic espionage program sold by an Israeli company. Since 2016, it has targeted 175 human rights activists and journalists in the Arab world, Latin America, Asia, Africa and other regions of the world.
“Lockout”, a mobile phone security company, described the Pegasus attacks as the most sophisticated, and not detected given the program’s ability to sneak into the phones it penetrates.
The scheme according to the source, sends to the operator of the Pegasus program a message to the target person including informing of the existence of important information and the latter can be obtained by simply clicking on a link in the letter, and this link is a malicious link to penetrate into the phone.
The link Pegasus exploits a series of unknown vulnerabilities to penetrate the digital protection of the targeted phones, and the spyware program is being downloaded without the knowledge or permission of the phone owner.
After Pegasus is installed on the phone, it starts to call the control center to receive and execute operator commands, and sends the target person’s data, including private information, passwords, contacts, calendar, text messages and direct voice calls from your phone’s messaging applications.
The Pegasus operator can operate the phone and microphone camera to capture and record everything in the surroundings of the targeted phone.
A Canadian lab found that 36 operators in the world used Pegasus to spy in 45 countries, including 16 Arab countries, including Algeria, 33 of which the relevant program was bought from the company “SNO”, and cannot sell the program without a license from the Israeli Ministry of Defense.
According to the results of the Canadian laboratory’s research study, the Middle East region is being targeted by the Israeli spy program via at least 12 operators.
Since September 2016, Pegasus operator the so-called “Blackbird” has been targeting six Arab countries – Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Qatar, UAE and Yemen – while it has been focusing on Saudi Arabia since October 2017. It has also spread to Bahrain, Egypt, Lebanon and Morocco.
Under the name “Middle”, this operator has been targeting Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Tunisia and the UAE since September 2016. A “Dome” operator since March 2018 has also been targeting Palestine and Qatar.
Regarding the Maghreb region, the research of the laboratory indicated that one operator of the Pegasus program targeted Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and France. The laboratory added that another operator in Israel targeted the countries of Qatar, Palestine, Turkey, the Netherlands and the United States.
The Laboratory’s fact-finding report, quoting “Al Jazeera Net”, stated that a Pegasus operator with the name “Atlas” operates from Morocco to target people’s phones in Morocco itself, and in other Arab countries, notably in Algeria, Tunisia and the UAE, as well as in Côte d’Ivoire and France. The Israeli spy program has been running since August 2017 until now.
In view of the number of operators and Arab countries targeted by the Pegasus spy program, the UAE ranks top of the list of Arab countries targeted by the spy program with six operators, followed by Qatar (5), Jordan (3), Bahrain, Lebanon, Palestine, Morocco and Tunisia (2), Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Iraq, Egypt, Oman, Kuwait and Yemen (one operator).
The Canadian Citizen’s Laboratory says in response to “Al-Jazeera Net” queries that its monitoring of the use of the Pegasus spy program in one country or another does not necessarily mean that governments are using such a program.
The laboratory adds that it does not know exactly who was the target of the espionage program in the Arab countries, but was able to find out which countries are targeted by this most nefarious program.