A Saudi source revealed that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman used Israeli spying techniques to hack opponents outside the Kingdom.
The source told Saudi Leaks that bin Salman used an information program developed by an Israeli group to spy on opponents of the Saudi regime, human rights activists and bloggers.
The source stated that the espionage operations focused particularly on the figures based on the ALQST Human Rights Organization, which monitors violations of the Saudi regime in the Kingdom and the Gulf.
He added that the espionage operations through the Israeli program also targeted the opposition figures who founded the National Assembly program and representatives of civil society institutions.
The Israeli spying program targeted more than 100 people around the world, according to messages from a security official at Microsoft and Citizen Lab, the University of Toronto-based organization.
A report by Citizen Lab said a hacking vendor called Candero designed and sold the software that could hack Windows.
This product is one of many intelligence products sold by a secretive sector that finds vulnerabilities in software platforms commonly used by its clients.
Citizen Lab researchers found evidence that this spyware could extract information from several applications used by victims, including Gmail, Skype, Telegram and Facebook.
The program was also able to find the history of searches and the victims’ passwords and activate the camera and microphone in their devices.
The Citizen Lab report stated that evidence of hacking and exploitation of this tool collected by Microsoft indicates that it was used against several countries, including Iran, Lebanon, Spain and Britain.
“Kanderu’s growing presence and use of its surveillance technologies against global civil society is a clear reminder that the mercenary spyware sector includes many players and is open to widespread abuse,” the report said.
On Tuesday, Microsoft fixed the vulnerabilities it discovered with a software update.
The company did not directly mention Kanderu but instead referred to a “hostile private sector player based in Israel” under the name Surgam.
The company indicated that the program called Devil’s Tongue managed to infiltrate famous sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Gmail and Yahoo to collect information, read messages from victims, and view photos.
The program was also able to send messages on behalf of the intended victims.
“Surgam generally sells cyber weapons that enable its clients, usually government agencies around the world, to infiltrate their target devices such as computers, telephones, infrastructure networks and Internet-connected devices… Those agencies then choose who they target and manage the actual operations themselves,” Microsoft said in a blog post.
Last February, an American newspaper revealed Mohammed bin Salman’s efforts to intensify cooperation with Israel in the field of espionage technologies.
The Jewish Press, published in New York, said that Salman aims to intensify cooperation with Israel in security and technology.
The newspaper added that bin Salman believes that such cooperation with Israel “will enhance the security of the Kingdom and support its endeavours for economic change, known as Vision 2030.”