Israeli cyber firm selling mobile phone spyware to Saudi Arabia: report

Israeli cyber firm selling mobile phone spyware to Saudi Arabia: report
It is suspected that Saudi Arabia and other states are using such software to spy on dissidents.
2 min read
10 June, 2021
The virus allows for full access to a target's phone [Getty/ Archive]

It has been revealed that a secretive Israeli cyber company is selling offensive hacking technology to Saudi Arabia, according to reports by Haaretz

Quadream, which operates from an unmarked office in Ramat Gan and has a minimal online presence, provides offensive hacking solutions that allow its clients to access mobile phones, collect data stored on the devices, and even use the phones to track and spy on individuals. 

While many of Quadream’s clients are law enforcement agencies, they have also sold their services to repressive regimes, including Saudi Arabia. 

It is suspected that countries like Saudi Arabia are using the hacking tools to spy on dissidents. 

Quadream was founded by Guy Geva, Nimrod Reznik, and Ilan Dabelstien in 2016. Geva and Reznik both previously worked in the cyber industry and brought their technical expertise to the company, while Dabelstien is a former senior official in the Israeli military intelligence. A fourth man, Avi Rabinovtich, serves as the companies CEO. 

According to Haaretz, Quadream sells its hacking tools to through a Cyprus-based company called InReach, which is also a stockholder in the company. 

InReach’s sales deck lists Quadream’s main hacking tool as a virus called Reign. 

The virus, according to InReach, has zero-click capabilities for iPhones; meaning the target’s phone can be infected without the owner having to click a link or download a malicious programme. 

The virus can also target Android devices, but requires the device’s owner to perform an action to allow the infection. 

An InReach sales presentation seen by Haaretz explained that once infected, Reign has access to all the devices data, including documents, photos, emails, WhatApp messages, and messages from other services, such as Telegram. 

In addition to harvesting data, the target’s phone can be remotely controlled, allowing the user to listen to the target through the phone’s microphone, turn on the camera, and use the GPS system to track the device. 

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By using a company in Cyprus to sell its products, Quadream is about to circumvent the oversight of Israel’s defence export regulator, to which Israeli cyber companies are usually subjected to. 

According to Haaretz, the Saudi government has been a customer of Quadream since 2019.

In addition to working with Saudi Arabia, Haaretz revealed that representatives from Quadream worked with the government in Ghana, and that it had also pitched its services to an official agency in Indonesia.