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July 06, 2018

Ex - NSO Employee Caught Selling Stolen Phone Hacking

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A former employee of one of the world' s most powerful hacking companies NSO Group has been arrested and charged with stealing phone hacking tools from the company and trying to sell it for $ 50 million on the Darknet secretly .
Israeli hacking firm NSO Group is mostly known for selling high - tech malware capable of remotely cracking into Apple ' s iPhones and Google ' s Android devices to intelligence apparatuses , militaries, and law enforcement around the world.


However , the phone hacking company has recently become the victim of an insider breach attack carried out by a 38 - year- old former NSO employee , who stole the source code for the company' s most powerful spyware called
Pegasus and tried to sell it for $ 50 million on the dark web in various cryptocurrencies , including Monero and Zcash , Israeli media reported .
That ' s much higher than the actual NSO Group ' s price tag for Pegasus , which reportedly sells for under $ 1 million per deployment.
If you remember , Pegasus is the same spyware that was used to target human rights activist
Ahmed Mansoor in the United Arab Emirates in mid- 2016 .
Pegasus can hack mobile phones remotely , allowing an attacker to access an incredible amount of data on a target victim, including text messages, calendar entries , emails, WhatsApp messages, user ' s location , microphone , and camera—all without the victim' s knowledge .
According to an indictment filed by Israel ' s attorney general , which does not name the employee , the accused worked in NSO' s quality assurance department , and upon realizing that he was going to lose his job , he copied top - secret code from NSO' s networks to an external hard drive after disabling McAfee security software on his PC.

Following his dismissal on April 29 , the accused contacted an unidentified individual on the darknet , representing himself as a member of a hacking crew who had successfully broken into NSO computers and attempted to sell the hard drive containing the spyware code for $ 50 million .
Ironically, the buyer himself in turn informed the company about their leaked hacking tools and the sale on the dark web .
NSO Group said the company quickly identified the breach and unnamed suspect and contacted the authorities , adding that no material had been shared with any third - party and that no customer data or information was compromised .
The suspect was arrested on June 5 , and the stolen property was secured. He was then charged with an attempt to sell security tools without an appropriate license , employee theft , and attempt to harm property in a manner that could hurt state security .
With 500 employees and valued at $ 900 million , NSO Group has been in a deal worth $ 1 billion with US - based software company Verint Systems who' s willing to merge its security division with NSO, revealed in May this year .
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