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Thu Jul 15, 2021, 07:15 PM

Spyware campaign targeted journalists, activists: researchers

A spyware campaign using tools from a secretive Israeli firm was used to attack and impersonate dozens of human rights activists, journalists, dissidents, politicians and others, researchers said Thursday.

Statements from Microsoft security researchers and the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab said powerful "cyberweapons" were being used in precision attacks targeting more than 100 victims around the world.

Microsoft said it patched this week the vulnerability exploited by the group, known by the names Candiru and Sourgum.

Citizen Lab said in a blog post that "Candiru is a secretive Israel-based company that sells spyware exclusively to governments," which can then use it to "infect and monitor iPhones, Androids, Macs, PCs, and cloud accounts."

"We found many domains masquerading as advocacy organizations such as Amnesty International, the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as media companies, and other civil-society themed entities," Citizen Lab said.

Microsoft observed at least 100 victims in the Palestinian territories, Israel, Iran, Lebanon, Yemen, Spain, Britain, Turkey, Armenia and Singapore.


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