An investigation by Microsoft and Citizen Lab reveals that the QuaDream hacking application was used to monitor journalists, politicians and activists in at least four European Union countries, writes the Spanish daily El Periodico, taken over by Rador.
At least 10 countries around the world have used a new computer program to spy on journalists, opposition politicians and humanitarian activists. A joint investigation by Microsoft and Citizen Lab revealed the operation of this application created by QuaDream, a hidden Israeli company.
Microsoft’s investigation notes that this cyber mercenary company sells its espionage platform, known as REIGN, to governments for use in law enforcement. However, another study by the University of Toronto Research Center identified at least five civil society victims.
Servers operating from Bulgaria, United Arab Emirates, Ghana, Hungary, Israel, Mexico, Czech Republic, Romania, Singapore and Uzbekistan were also located. Journalistic information indicates that QuaDream has also offered its services to the authorities in Morocco and Indonesia.
Investigators documented that some of them used other spying tools to violate human rights. This is the case in Mexico, the United Arab Emirates and Hungary, all of which are involved in the persecution of critical journalists, dissident politicians and activists.
The QuaDream spyware exploited vulnerabilities in versions 14.4 and 14.4.2 of iOS – the operating system used by Apple products – to send malicious calendar invites and jailbreak its victims’ mobile phones.
This would allow attackers to steal data, eavesdrop on calls and activate the device’s camera and microphone. Although it is not certain, this technique might be replaced by new system updates.