Connect with us

Human rights

Exposé reveals Israeli spyware firm’s mysterious Singapore project dating back to 2018

Israeli-owned cyber-surveillance firms based in Cyprus were exposed for widespread data theft and spyware distribution.

Tal Dilian, an ex-elite Israeli intelligence commander, and his ex-wife Sara Hamou were exposed by ICIJ for orchestrating a network of companies exporting spyware worldwide.

Intriguingly, a company under Hamou’s registration inked a secretive deal in 2018 with a Q Cyber Technologies subsidiary for an undisclosed “Installations project in Singapore.”

Published

on

The Israeli-owned cyber-surveillance firms operating in Cyprus were revealed to be deeply involved in global data theft and the distribution of spyware.

An investigation done by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), uncovered the roles of Tal Dilian, a former elite Israeli intelligence commander, and his ex-wife Sara Hamou in establishing a network of companies responsible for exporting spyware globally.

Notably, a company registered under Hamou’s name in 2018 signed a services agreement with a Q Cyber Technologies subsidiary for a secretive “Installations project in Singapore.”

Q Cyber Technologies is the parent company of NSO Group, an Israeli firm infamous for its spyware technology, particularly Pegasus.

According to ICIJ, Q Cyber Technologies was created by the merger of Circles and NSO Group. Circles is a company founded by Dilian.

NSO Group has faced extensive international criticism for its involvement in creating and selling surveillance technology.

Profiting from surveillance

According to the ICIJ, Tal Dilian achieved billionaire status through his first spyware venture, Circles.

Notably, this enterprise distributed spyware worldwide, with clients including the Thai military and the United Arab Emirates, reportedly accruing annual sales surpassing US$100 million at its zenith.

Dilian and his associates brokered the sale of Circles for a reported US$130 million to a U.S. private equity firm in 2014, securing Dilian over US$20 million from the transaction.

A consortium of seven companies retained a 12% share in the enterprise, which eventually merged with Israel’s NSO Group, and rebranded as Q Cyber Technologies.

This stake appreciated significantly when Q Cyber Technologies was later sold in a 2019 deal, valuing the corporation at approximately US$1 billion.

Dilian’s innovative use of Cyprus as a nerve center for his cyber-surveillance endeavours paved the way for numerous analogous firms to proliferate across the island.

Leaked documents cited by ICIJ demonstrated Sara Hamou, Dilian’s wife, facilitating the relocation of several Israeli executives linked to Dilian to Cyprus.

In November 2018, Hamou expedited the registration of a new company in Cyprus, Maravilhas Solutions Ltd., “specializing in vehicle enhancements” but engaged in providing telecommunication services as well.

Maravilhas symbolizes Cyprus’ role in bolstering Israeli-owned cyber-surveillance companies in disseminating spyware globally.

Shortly after its establishment, Maravilhas inked a service agreement with a Q Cyber Technologies subsidiary.

Hamou’s pivotal position was evident as she concurrently served as a director in both entities. The agreement outlined Maravilhas’ provision of hardware, installation services, and ongoing support to Q Cyber Technologies.

Soon after Maravilhas was incorporated, it signed a services agreement with a subsidiary of Q Cyber Technologies.

Maravilhas swiftly invoiced the Q Cyber Technologies subsidiary, notably billing US$40,800 for specialist technicians and logistics for an “Installations project in Singapore.”

Further invoices totalling over US$100,000 were sent for another project in the UAE, though the specifics of these undertakings remain undisclosed in the leaked documents.

No additional details are available in the leaked documents regarding the specific nature of Maravilhas’ operations in the UAE and Singapore, as reported by ICIJ.

“Both countries have checkered human rights records but have strong ties with Israel’s defence and intelligence industries, ” it added.

Dilian sheltered amid Intellexa’s spyware scandal

Despite the prior exposure of Intellexa’s spyware scandal, Dilian skillfully avoided significant repercussions, largely attributing his success to the concerted efforts of his ex-wife, Hamou.

The Cyprus Confidential documents unearthed a pivotal transaction where Hamou assumed ownership of a company valued at over US$2 million from Dilian in the recent past.

Furthermore, these confidential records unveiled Hamou’s orchestration of an extensive corporate network geared towards the development and sale of spyware.

This far-reaching network reportedly extends its reach across Europe, spanning regions from North Macedonia to Hungary, Greece, and Ireland.

Hamou’s efforts in building this network have effectively shielded Intellexa from potential regulatory interventions.

Amnesty International: Singapore academic one of 50 targets in Israeli-made spyware campaign

In October, Amnesty International highlighted Intellexa’s sale of Predator spyware, capable of turning phones into surveillance devices.

This spyware enables access to stored or transmitted data like messages, calls, photos, and microphones.

Amnesty’s Predator Files report revealed Intellexa’s sales to countries including Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Congo, Jordan, Kenya, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Singapore, the UAE, and Vietnam.

Between February and June 2023, at least 50 accounts – 27 belonging to individuals and 23 to institutions – were publicly targeted via X (formerly Twitter) and Facebook.

Dr Collin Koh Swee Lean, a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, was among a string of academics targeted between February and June.

The report identified other targets, including journalists, academic researchers focusing on security issues in the South China Sea and Vietnam, politicians in the European Parliament, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, and numerous think tanks and research organizations.

In October, Dr Koh told Singapore media The Straits Times that he did not know about the attempt to spy on him until after the Amnesty International report was published.

He did not recall clicking on any of the three links sent to him in April and May.

Emphasizing his cautious approach, he mentioned only clicking on links shared by familiar contacts on X.

At the time, the Ministry of Home Affairs said: “The Government has all along advised the public to be wary of e-mails, text messages and social media messages with suspicious URL links and to verify the authenticity of these messages before clicking on these links or attachments.”

Spyware in Singapore

“It’s worth noting that Singapore has been previously associated with the alleged use of Israeli-made spyware.

In February 2022, Reuters reported that the Singaporean government was among the first clients of an Israeli company, QuaDream Ltd.

This company specializes in developing smartphone hacking tools explicitly designed for government clients.

Citizen Lab’s report in April revealed the utilization of spyware and hacking tools developed by Israeli company QuaDream against minority-party politicians and journalists in multiple nations, including Singapore.

Founded by a former Israeli military official and NSO Group veterans, QuaDream’s spyware, including Pegasus, has been extensively used worldwide for surveillance purposes.

At least five people have reportedly been targeted by QuaDream spyware, Pegasus, and exploits in North America, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

Citizen Lab has identified servers in 10 countries that received data from victims’ devices, including Israel, Singapore, Mexico, the United Arab Emirates and Bulgaria.

It also noted that QuaDream has marketed its spyware and services to government clients including Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Ghana, Indonesia, and Morocco.

In Citizen Lab’s report, it highlighted that Singapore’s constitution does not recognize the right to privacy, and state authorities have broad surveillance powers that bypass standard judicial mechanisms.

2018 Citizen Lab analysis found suspected Pegasus spyware infections in 45 countries, including Singapore.

In February 2022, Singapore’s Minister of State for Home Affairs, Desmond Tan declined to discuss whether the government uses QuaDream’s spyware or other spyware technologies, citing the need to safeguard national security.

In that same parliamentary session, Minister for Home Affairs and Law, K Shanmugam, responded to a question raised by WP MP, Ms Sylvia Lim regarding a threat warning she received from Apple regarding the potential hacking of her phone by state-sponsored agencies.

The Minister said he had confirmed that Ms Lim’s phone has not been hacked by Singapore’s state agencies in the time between when the question was raised and the present moment, after having checked with the Security and Intelligence Division (SID), which falls under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

 

Share this post via:
Continue Reading
32 Comments
Subscribe
Notify of
32 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

They have sold themselves as superior in technology and warfare. However the length of time to take out Hamas shows a contradiction. Perhaps American technology is being sold as being Israeli technology.

Sgrean one whole bunch of Black entities Pending, now join with Japan Black Entities … So what making the White Na marry any of the Black entities to collect stars and can continue to Corrupt?!? Speak and Answer!!!!

My family and extended family are not the Resources of Lee empire or China Empire or Lee sold to Demo and Repub to continue their Wayang Show becos they wanna Make it Big!!!! And want to have Rights to Corrupt behind the Black Entities!!!!!?

Lets put victim names to parliment and have government compensate them for being targets of illegal spying and baseless slandering.

Buried WHAT?!? I am not Frenz or Family with Empires who take advantage of Others so dun need to keep spinning lies to collect scapegoats! Rich People Entitlement, hoodwink others to collect resources!!! No?!? Face and answer instead hiding behind and speak on your own media channel!!!!

The truth is not revealed. It is buried together with the mini commissioners. Unless you have 2/3, you have no right to know.

What political agenda so that they can own a line of people for them to shield their black and white overlords. No?!?

You dun need to keep. Cricritising Sgrean. Since one gal is SG divorce ready and the other Japanese divorce ready. No?!? Using Girls for your politicians political agenda!

In politics, there is more than cunning.
With 100% unobstructed access to trillions of money, it is only skill
that is lacking, software or gadgets.

But most useful & far reaching, and flexible is having majority votes in parliament.
That single route alone is awesome as cunnilingus…

You wanna meddle. Go meddle with your Empire MediaCork girls to marry whoever you want. Dun come and lord over and meddle with my family with democrats or repubs a hand in it. Trying to pull wool over ppl eyes!

I dun owe you arse politician anything BUT time and again You ppl spin lies for your agenda. Why cannot speak to me straight BUT can fix my family and their marriages.

I said before. You dun come and play your black and white game in my family to create chaos. Yet you wanna please your China Gods and US gods to do this for you agenda of staying critical! Pui!!!!

PM Lee how many Divorce girls do I Owe you and Why?!?

You politicians wanna do your Show. Go do elsewhere instead of trying to use ppl family as a conduit for your corruption!!!!!!

Especially for the Lee Empire and Friends with Benefits!!!!

One would ONLY EXPECT and BELIEVE only RARE numbers of UNPOPULAR world DICTATORS using Tax Payers Money to buy EXPENSIVE, USE, spyware to HUNT and SPY on it’s Own People (who can tell, possibly to destroy too) to CONTINUE it’s own power to rule – ONLY in 3rd World Undeveloped, PRIMITIVE societies.

DAMN Quixotic?

Life is very Simple. Married then Honor each other. If you cannot, then honorably face each other and resolve it. Even if it meant divorce. Dun resort to stealing children and what not … The children will grow up and they will be able to choose then. Dun make it a mess for them!

In this modern world – Sheegapore feted as the most expensive city Champion of the world, by the way – often pop Western Press described as a city rose from swamps, and the best to live in for expats (is it THE WORST for Sheegaporeans themselves then? ) IT SHOWS the MOST of that MUCH citizens do NOT PRIDE it’s own personal privacy, human rights, AND have these HAPPILY allowed the PAP to trample on. And WORST of the WORST an Administration of Politicians DELIBERATELY TELL LIES TO HIDE it’s OWN HIDEOUS ACTS of TAILING, SPYING on them, away from… Read more »

If the Japanese Entity want a Divorce, I hope they will be HONORABLE to speak up and to the Person involved instead of Stealing Child for their Empire Agenda especially the Lee Empire.

Then their White Entity can marry their Black Minister entities for furthur Empire Agenda. No?!?

So free … These politicians meddling into civilian lives for their agenda.

People are surprise of this, that the highly dangerous, murderous Oriental Mafia, exists and OPERATE AT WILL to Kill it’s own citizens in Sheegapore. Not that the Mafia merely exists, but the NEFARIOUS TOXICITY of Million Dollar Salaries Mafias IS SO EMBOLDENED, this is the Hail Mary Issue.

I Am Earning $81,100 so Far this year working 0nline and I am a full time college student and just working for 3 to 4 hours a day I’ve made Q such great m0ney.I am Genuinely thankful to and my administrator, It’s’ really user friendly and I’m just so happY that I found out about this…
.
.
I Worked Here ==> > W­w­w.S­m­a­r­t­c­a­r­e­e­r­1.c­o­m

they sold it to commie china too… why they left that info out? who else would wanna spy on south china sea disputes?

Dear Dr Collin Koh, you DON’T have to click ANYTHING to be infected by spyware. I’m actually quite surprised that Singapore has made such extensive use of such services … assuming that they had been used for LEGITIMATE reasons.

Take away using the 🇺🇸 as a beacon of political democratic standards, or many of the Western European societies – by measure of decent democracy political systems that accord very basic human rights recognition and practices, the PAP Administration is an illegal regime to begin with, with highly questionable laws and policing of fairness enabling, towards Sheegaporeans.

Many of PAP’s coercions and crimping of basic human rights activities would have had long AGO THROWN many of PAP Administration Politicians into jail by right.

Leon Pereira, Nicole Seah – possible victims of PAP Administration’s dirty use of spyware, enabling them to track about their dates, their private movements? The driver part is ‘a scapegoat’ aggenda made to fit in to fix up a story to make it sound like driver is genuinely concerned.

Trending

Discover more from Gutzy Asia

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue Reading