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FBI investigates Israeli spying firm over hacks on Americans

Washington (QNN)- The FBI is probing the role of Israeli cyber-intelligence company NSO Group and the possible use of its phone-hijacking tools to hack American citizens’ phones and spy on foreign governments, Reuters reported on Thursday.

According to Reuters, the probe was underway by 2017, when FBI officials interviewed one person in an attempt to learn whether “NSO obtained from American hackers any of the code it needed to infect smartphones”.

The FBI conducted more interviews with technology industry experts after Facebook filed a lawsuit in October accusing NSO of exploiting a flaw in Facebook’s WhatsApp messaging service to hack 1,400 users, two people who spoke with agents or Justice Department officials told Reuters.

News of an FBI investigation into the company follows reports that the iPhone of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was hacked by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The Guardian first reported earlier this month that bin Salman helped steal data from Bezos’ phone after sending an unsolicited video that contained a malicious file in 2018.

Saudi Arabia denied that bin Salman was involved. Last week, a United Nations report said that bin Salman likely was involved in hacking Bezos’ phone. It said that a forensic analysis of the phone said it was “likely” to have been carried out with the sort of software NSO has.

NSO said it sells its spy software and technical support exclusively to governments and that those tools are to be used in pursuing suspected terrorists and other criminals.

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