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Israeli Cyber Company Reportedly Found Selling iPhone Spyware to Saudi Arabia Since 2019

© AP Photo / Keith SrakociciPhones on display at an Apple store at a shopping mall in Pittsburgh
iPhones on display at an Apple store at a shopping mall in Pittsburgh - Sputnik International, 1920, 08.06.2021
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Israeli cyber company Quadream, which specializes in developing technological solutions to extract data from smartphones and track people's locations, has been selling its services to Saudi Arabia since 2019, Israeli Haaretz newspaper reported on Tuesday citing sources and documents it has obtained.

According to Haaretz, Quadream was founded in 2016 by three Israeli nationals — two cyber security experts and a former senior official in Israel's military intelligence.

The company uses a front in Cyprus to sell its Reign spyware, which, Haaretz claims, allows the extraction of all data from iPhones, remote control of the camera, eavesdropping, and tracking of the location of the device's user without their knowledge.

Under Israeli regulations, such sensitive technology can be exported under the supervision of defense experts who make sure it does not fall into the hands of terrorists and is not used for illegal purposes or political persecution.

However, the Haaretz noted that Quadream can sell its hacking tools with no oversight through its Cyprus front. The buyers include both "legitimate" countries and those that are considered oppressive by the international community, including Saudi Arabia and Ghana, the newspaper said, citing a source. Quadream has been working with Riyadh since 2019, Haaretz added.

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The virus can infect iPhones directly, without the owner having to click a malware link as such hacking tools usually require, Haaretz said, citing the company's sales documents. Moreover, the newspaper said citing sources familiar with Quadream, Reign cannot be remotely deactivated by the developer, unlike similar tools offered by competitors.

Reign spyware also works on the majority of Android smartphones, but a special link is required in this case, the report said.

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