Canada’s Citizen Lab revealed on Tuesday that a new Israeli spyware, similar to the notorious Pegasus program, was used to target journalists and opposition politicians in several countries, The Middle East Monitor reported.
The Canadian internet watchdog said that the new program was designed by a little-known Israeli company called QuaDream Limited, founded by a former Israeli military official and former veteran employee of the NSO company that produced Pegasus.
Citizen Lab, which monitors the misuse of modern electronic devices, was able to identify at least five people who were targeted by the QuaDream program in North America, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe and the Middle East.
It added that the list of victims includes “journalists, opposition political figures, and an NGO employee”, but it did not reveal their identities.
The ‘Pegasus’ Saga: All iPhone Devises Were Exploited by Israeli Spy Tech Firm, Report Indicates
Spyware programs such as Pegasus have previously been widely used by governments and other agencies to spy on dissidents, the media and activists.
Citizen Lab said that after being placed on the user’s phone or personal computer, the QuaDream spyware can record calls and external sounds, take pictures from cameras, and search in device files without the user’s knowledge.
The program can also generate two-factor authentication codes, i.e. passwords and security codes to secure continuous access to the device owner’s cloud accounts.