A dissident friend of the murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi believes his phone has been hacked by Saudi authorities who intercept reports that are critical of the country's regime.
Khashoggi, 59, had sent messages to the Saudi activist Omar Abdulaziz via WhatsApp before his death.
Later, however, it appeared that the messages along with the rest of Abdulaziz's phone, which was reportedly infected with Pegasus, contained a powerful piece of malware designed to spy on its users.
Omar Abdulaziz, (left), a friend of the murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi (right), believes his phone has been hacked by Saudi authorities
Abdulaziz is now suing the makers of Pegasus, the Israeli Cyber Company NSO Group, accusing them of violating international law by selling the software to oppressive regimes, CNN said.
Mr. Khashoggi disappeared on October 2 when he went to the Saudi consulate in Turkey with fiancé Hatice Cengiz to get divorce papers from his previous marriage so that he could marry again.
Turkey concluded that shortly after his entry into the embassy he had been killed and his body had been dismembered by a team of Saudi assassins.
The Arab kingdom initially denied the murder. Saudi then changed his story several times before he finally acknowledged that he had been killed in an act of premeditated murder.
But Saudi denied accusations of the critics of the regime that had given Bin Salman the order, instead the guilty "elements of the state & # 39; to blame.
Researchers at the Citzen Lab have tracked the use of Pegasus software from the NSO Group in 45 countries where operators may carry out surveillance activities.
This includes at least 10 Pegasus operators who are "apparently actively involved in cross-border surveillance".
Citizen Lab researchers claim that Abdulaziz received a text message disguised as a shipment update of a package he had just ordered.
Saudi officials have admitted that the killing of Khashoggi was a premeditated act by state assassins, but deny that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (photo) has given the order
The link, which Citizen Lab says has been returned to a domain connected to Pegasus, caused the Abdulaziz phone to become infected with the malware.
The software, able to infect a phone after a single click on a link in a fake SMS message, then gives hackers full access to the phone, reports CNN.
Data stored on the phone, messages, phone calls and even GPS location data are visible, allowing hackers to see where someone is, whom he is talking to and about.
This in turn gave hackers access to virtually his entire phone, including his daily conversations with Khashoggi.
Abdulaziz believed that their talks, which criticized crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, may have been intercepted by Saudi authorities.
It is clear that Khashoggi learned that his conversations with Abdulaziz might have been intercepted and two months before his death on October 2, God help us & # 39; have sent.
Saudi opposition activist Omar Abdulaziz, 27, sues the makers of Pegasus and accuses them of violating international law by selling malware to oppressive regimes
Saudi Arabia has denied accusations of the critics of the regime that Bin Salman had given the order, instead the guilty 'elements of the state & # 39; to blame.
The prosecutor general of the country has asked for the death penalty for five of the eleven defendants accused of murdering journalist Jamal Khashoggi, because their high-profile lawsuit was opened earlier this month in Riyadh.
Seven of these men are bodyguards of the de facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman of the kingdom, who refuses to give the order to kill him.
The body of Khashoggi is still to be found under reports that it was given to a local fixer & # 39; that dissolved it in acid.
A still image from CCTV video and obtained by A News claims that Jamal Khashoggi and his fiancée moved in on the day he disappeared in Istanbul
In a given by the NSO Group since the company was involved in the Khashoggi case, CEO Shalev Hulio categorically denied any involvement in following the Saudi journalist or his murder.
He told CNN that his death was a "shocking murder." and that the company would have known immediately if their software had been used to follow a journalist.
Hulio added: "I say on the record that after all these checks there was no use of an NSO product or technology on Khashoggi; and that includes tapping, monitoring, finding a location or gathering information.
& # 39; Exclamation point! The story is simply not true & # 39 ;.
Hulio said the NSO group can unlink a customer's software if it is used inappropriately or against inappropriate targets, such as journalists or human rights activists who simply do their job.
& # 39; In cases where the system is misused, assuming we are aware, the technological system that we have sold will be immediately disconnected; that is something that we can do both technologically and legally & # 39 ;.