Thai Activists Hacked Powerful Israeli Spyware: Reports

Dozens of Thai activists and supporters of the pro-democracy movement said they were hacked using what is considered the world’s most advanced spyware.

According to legal advocacy group iLaw, about 30 Thais were found to have been hacked using NSO Group’s Tel Aviv-based NSO Group’s Pegasus tool, which can crack iPhone and Android smartphone encryption, during the 2020-2021 street protests calling for the overthrow of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan . -ocha and reform the monarchy.

The discovery came after Apple began sending notifications to victims’ phones in November 2021.

The majority of those infiltrated were dissidents with roles in the pro-democracy movement. Among them were lawyer and activist Arnon Namba, student activist Panusaya “Rong” Sithjirawatanakul, rapper Decaturn “Hokhaker” Bamrongmwang, academic Prajak Kongirati, and actress and activist Enthira Charoenpura. The youngest victim was 18 years old.

Arnon Namba speaks on stage on September 19, 2020, at a demonstration in Sanam Long. Photo: Chayanit Itthipongmaetee / Coconuts Bangkok

It’s still not realistic, said Yingchip Achannon of legal reform group iLaw.

“This is beyond my imagination,” he wrote online on Sunday, “as if I’m living in a dystopian science fiction movie like Big Brother always watching.”

This was the first time that Pegasus spyware was believed to be used in Thailand. A number of Thai dissidents using iPhones said they had received alerts from Apple that their devices might have been infected by state-sponsored attackers.

A committee at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand discussed the revelations this morning A parasite in your phone: Thai pro-democracy activists today, Thai citizens tomorrow? that was online streaming.

Dechatorn ‘Hockhacker’ Bamrungmuang speaks to reporters on August 20, 2020, outside the offices of Thai Lawyers for Human Rights in Bangkok. Photo: Didtita Simcharoen / Coconuts Bangkok

iLaw on Saturday published Full report and list of 30 hackers. Another report was generalhso Developed by the Toronto-based Citizen Lab Internet censorship agency.

Human rights defender Amnesty International in Thailand on Monday morning issued a statement Ask the government to come out on suspicion of using the tool to violate basic human rights.

“We can now formally add Thailand to the growing list of countries where people peacefully calling for change, expressing an opinion, or debating government policies may lead to unjust surveillance with a profound impact on an individual’s freedom of expression, privacy, and a sense of security,” Etienne said. Maine from AI “It is worth noting that this is only what has been found so far, and the scale of surveillance attempts may be greater and more harmful.”

Amnesty International in Thailand also urged the Thai authorities to conduct an “independent, prompt, thorough and effective investigation” into the use of the Pegasus invasive spyware.

Late last year, opposition parties such as Pheu Thai and Move Forward called on Minister for Digital Economy and Society Chayut Thanakkamanosorn to use state-sponsored attackers to hack activists. Chayot later refuted that the government had done so. “I guarantee that there will be no attacks on anyone’s information,” he said.

After Pegasus was put up for sale internationally in 2011, it was used to target journalists and dissidents around the world, including women’s rights activists in Saudi Arabia, according to New York Times investigation earlier this year.

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