Israeli Company NSO Charges $650, 000 to Hack 10 iPhones, Report

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NSO Group charges as little as $650, 000 to hack a group of 10 iPhones or Android devices, along with a $500, 000 setup fee, the New York Times reports. When you pay this amount of cash you’ll get complete access to everything on those phones, including taking screenshots, capturing keystrokes and tracking GPS locations. The Israeli digital surveillance company can even tap into phone’s microphones to record nearby sounds.

The NSO Group hit the headlines a week ago, after a United Arab Emirates human rights activist, Ahmed Mansoor,  was initially alerted by a strange text message with a link. A security researcher from Canada had discovered NSO tracking system known as Pegasus on this mobile phone. Pegagus was found as well on a journalist who wrote about corruption in the Mexican government. Pegasus, can also tap into Symbian and BlackBerry smartphones.

Bill Marczak, a senior fellow at the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs told the NYT “Once NSO’s systems are sold, governments can essentially use them however they want. NSO can say they’re trying to make the world a safer place, but they are also making the world a more surveilled place.”

Unfortunately,  NSO Group now finds itself a victim of a ‘hack’. The company’s  contracts and business proposals, internal documents and even employee email correspondence, have been leaked to the “New York Times”.

On Satuarday, NYT reported confidential details collect from these documents, including the price of NSO services. “New York Times” says the documents had been provided by two of NSO Group’s business contacts, whose names were not disclosed shed light on the operation of the secretive industry.

According to Defense News to target a mobile phone, its owner is sent an apparently ingenuous SMS message. When the owener opens the message, the software is installed on the device. From that moment on the system operator to pull out all personal data including emails, messages, search history, contacts list etc. No phone’s service provider involve. This is ofcourse one of many methods employed.

When spoke with Defense News NSO co-founder Omri Lavie said: “We are practically a ghost. For the target, we are completely invisible and leave no traces whatsoever.”

According to the NYT documents, the NSO Group charges $500, 000 installation fee. Than, to hack 10 iPhone or Android users; $500, 000 for five BlackBerry users and only $300, 000 for five Symbian phones. 10 additional targets will cost another $150, 000; 20 more targets will cost $250, 000; 50 will cost $500, 000; and 100 more will cost $800, 000. NSO also charges a further annual system maintenance fee of 17% of the total price every year after the initial order.

According to NSO documents, the client receives “unlimited access to a target’s mobile devices. Remotely and covertly collect information about the target’s relationships, location, phone calls, plans and activities – whenever and wherever they are…[and]It leaves no traces whatsoever.”

NYT also knows that the San Francisco-based private equity firm Francisco Partners, which acquired a controlling stake in NSO in 2014 for $120 million, now considers selling its stake for ten times this price, according to two people approached by the firm.

 

 

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