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Israeli firm linked to Middle East cyberattacks

i24NEWS - AFP

2 min read
This picture taken on November 3, 2016 shows on a screen viruses listed in Rennes, France.
DAMIEN MEYER (AFP/File)This picture taken on November 3, 2016 shows on a screen viruses listed in Rennes, France.

Candiru sells sophisticated spyware to governments and was blacklisted by the US government earlier this month

Technology sold by Israeli spyware company Candiru appears to have been used for a campaign of cyberattacks targeting high-profile Middle Eastern websites, an analysis by cybersecurity firm Eset said Tuesday.

"We think it was a client of Candiru that carried out these attacks," Eset investigator Matthieu Faou told AFP.

Eset did not name the client, but pointed to an investigation by researchers at the University of Toronto that suggested in June that Saudi Arabia may have used similar techniques.

Candiru sells sophisticated spyware to governments and was blacklisted by the US government earlier this month.

The perpetrators used what are known as "watering hole" attacks, which add malicious code to legitimate websites that the targeted user is likely to visit. Once the person visits the site, the code can then be used to infect their computer - potentially to spy on them or inflict harm in other ways. 

The websites targeted in this campaign included UK-based news site Middle East Eye, Eset said. Middle East Eye said in a statement it is exploring possible legal action that could be taken. 

 “Middle East Eye is no stranger to such attempts to take our website down by state and non-state actors. Substantial sums of money have been spent trying to take us out," David Hearst, editor-in-chief of Middle East Eye, said.

"They have not stopped us reporting what is going on in all corners of the region and it will not stop us in future. They will not stop us reaching a global audience.”

Internet service providers in Yemen and Syria were also targeted along with the Iranian foreign ministry, Syria's electricity ministry, and Yemen's interior and finance ministries. 

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