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Israeli spyware used to hack across 10 countries

An Israeli firm’s hacking tools have been used against journalists, opposition figures and advocacy organizations across at least 10 countries – including people in North America and Europe – according to new research published Tuesday by Microsoft Corp and the internet watchdog Citizen Lab.

Citizen Lab said in its report that it had been able to identify a handful of civil society victims whose iPhones had been hacked using surveillance software developed by the Israeli company, QuaDream Ltd – a lower-profile competitor to the Israeli spyware company NSO Group, which has been blacklisted by the U.S. government over allegations of abuse.

In its report published at the same time, Microsoft said it believed with “high confidence” that the spyware was “strongly linked to QuaDream.”

In a statement, Microsoft Associate General Counsel Amy Hogan-Burney said that mercenary hacking groups like QuaDream “thrive in the shadows” and that publicly outing them was “essential to stopping this activity.”

Israeli lawyer Vibeke Dank, whose email was listed on QuaDream’s corporate registration form, did not return a message seeking comment. Repeated attempts by Reuters to reach QuaDream over the past year – including a visit to the company’s office outside Tel Aviv – have been unsuccessful. Reuters

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