Phantom and Pegasus spyware fame NSO Group cloned Facebook page to help its clients hack victims smartphones
The NSO group of Israel not only made Phantom and Pegasus spyware for the American agencies but also cloned Facebook website to hack into victims’ smartphones for them.
This was revealed today by Motherboard in a report which provides damning evidence of how the NSO group spied on American citizens. The Israeli surveillance firm NSO Group which normally sells spying tools to law enforcement agencies worldwide also uses some other neat tricks to hack into target smartphones, PCs, and laptops for its clients.
It created a cloned Facebook webpage that looked as if it belonged to Facebook’s security team to entice targets to click on links that would install the company’s powerful cell phone hacking technology. According to Motherboard, NSO Group also used its webservers based America to spy on Americans. Such type of activity is illegal in the United States.
A former NSO employee provided Motherboard with the IP address of a server setup to infect phones with NSO’s Pegasus hacking tool. The Pegasus works by installing on Android smartphones and iPhones without the owners’ consent and then tracking their every phone call, message, social media posts, messages, tracking GPS, turning on the microphone, and camera at will.
Pegasus comes in two versions – 0- or 1-click version. The 0 click version is installed into victims’ smartphones without their knowledge which the 1-click version is spread through phishing or social engineering.
The Motherboard has a list of domains that the NSO group used to impersonate Facebook use U.S.-based infrastructure to launch its malware.
Facebook has separately sued domain registrars for hosting websites impersonating it. It announced in a blog post the company had filed a lawsuit against Namecheap and its proxy service Whoisguard, for registering over 45 domains that impersonated Facebook and its services. It also has a lawsuit filed against the NSO group for hacking into WhatsApp using a vulnerability. The vulnerability allowed the NSO Group to spy on journalists and dissidents world over.