Pegasus spy app group would have tried to "buy" access to the US mobile network

The Israeli monitoring company NSO Group, responsible for the spy app Pegasus, offered representatives of a US mobile security firm “bags and more bags of money” in exchange for access to the global mobile communication network. The information was revealed by The Washington Post (TWJ).

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The Washington Post obtained the information from US Department of Justice documents describing whistleblowing sessions held with Gary Miller, a mobile security expert, who described the negotiation between the NSO Group and Mobileum, a company in the mobile security landscape. in which the complainant was serving as vice president at the time of the incident.

Miller states that the negotiation took place in August 2017. In it, NSO Group executives specifically wanted access to the SS7 network, used by mobile phone companies to redirect calls and services to their users around the world, to assist in the investigation. of crimes.

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If NSO Group had gained access to the SS7 network at the time, its spying solutions could track the geolocation of targets, adding more functions for its customers to have more control over victims' daily lives.

US Department of Justice is investigating NSO Group

NSO Group is being investigated by the US government. (Image: Reproduction/NSO Group)

Miller's allegations come as the US Department of Justice is conducting investigations into the NSO Group and its flagship product, the spy app Pegasus. The agency's investigation finds the fact that some of the users of the service offered by the Israeli company have hacked into targets' phones to illegally spy on them – something that could be facilitated if the program could use the SS7 network.

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However, it is important to note that, according to legal experts consulted by the TWJ, simply having access to the SS7 network does not violate any US law, but certain types of espionage and monitoring, such as that offered by Pegasus, do. As a result, Miller's whistle-blowing may not constitute a flagrant act for the NSO Group — although it may imply criminal intentions on the part of the Israeli company.

Both NSO Group and Mobileum, in a note sent to TWJ, deny that any conversation or negotiation took place between them.

Read the article on Canaltech.

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