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ICFUAE | International Campaign For Freedom in the UAE

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UAE using Israel's Pegasus malware to spy on citizens

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UAE using Israel's Pegasus malware to spy on citizens

A recent report has revealed that the UAE has been among the countries that have been extensively using the spyware Pegasus to spy on their own people and track human rights advocates. 

The report, published by Citizen Lab on Tuesday, said the usage of Pegasus - made by the Tel Aviv-based NSO company - had significantly increased in the country between August 2016 and August 2018.

“Our findings paint a bleak picture of the human rights risks of NSO’s global proliferation. At least six countries with significant Pegasus operations have previously been linked to abusive use of spyware to target civil society,” the Citizen Lab said in its report, refusing to name all the countries.

Citizen Lab said it identified at least six operators with "significant operations" in the Gulf region including at least two that appeared to predominantly focus on the UAE and one with a Saudi focus. One was also focused on Bahrain, it added.

The UAE had earlier used the phone hacking spyware to spy on several Arab figures, including the Qatari emir, Lebanese prime minister, and a Saudi prince.

The New York Times reported on August 31 that the NSO Group and affiliates had actively participated in cyber attacks on individuals sought by the UAE using the controversial Pegasus spyware to turn their smart phones into surveillance devices.

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