Danna Ingleton is Deputy Director of Amnesty Tech
In June last year, one of my colleagues at Amnesty International received a WhatsApp message from an unknown number. It contained details about a protest supposedly taking place at the Saudi embassy in Washington DC, and my colleague was instantly suspicious. The message came at a time when Amnesty International was campaigning for the release of six jailed activists in Saudi Arabia, and something didn’t feel right.
An analysis of the links in the message proved these suspicions to be well-founded. Amnesty’s Tech team found that clicking the link would have secretly installed potent spyware on the phone, obtaining total access to calls, messages, photos and GPS location. A closer look enabled us to trace the attack back to a secretive Israeli company: NSO Group.