[CAVIE-ACCI] Nigerian intelligence services have been using Israeli spyware to monitor the country’s citizens’ phone calls and text messages, a new report revealed recently. Pegasus software has allegedly been used by several governments to spy on dissidents by taking control of their smartphone
The study by the University of Toronto discovered a telecom surveillance company called Circles has been used by state security services in at least 25 countries.
The report said Circles was affiliated to the Tel Aviv-based NSO Group, an Israeli hacker-for-hire company, whose software, Pegasus, has allegedly been used by several governments to spy on dissidents by taking control of their smartphone, its cameras and microphones, and mining the user’s personal data.
According to the report, at least two bodies in Nigeria have used Circles’ spyware technology, one of which is the Nigerian Defence Intelligence Agency according to the IP address.
It backed an earlier investigation by online newspaper Premium Times, which alleged that the governors of two Nigerian states had purchased systems from Circles to spy on their political opponents.
Earlier this year, an Israeli court rejected a request to strip the NSO Group of its export licence over the suspected use of the company’s technology to target journalists and dissidents worldwide.
The case, brought by Amnesty International in January, called on the court to prevent NSO from selling its technology abroad, especially to repressive governments.