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Researchers say Thai democratic activists have been attacked by spyware | Technology

Bangkok (AP) —Cybersecurity researchers say Thai activists involved in the country’s anti-democratic movement attacked their mobile phones or other devices by infecting them with government-sponsored spyware.

Researchers at Citizen Lab and iLaw, a cybersecurity research group, have at least 30 people, including activists, scholars, and people working in civil society groups, monitored by Pegasus, a spyware created by Israel-based cybersecurity company NSO Group. I found that it is.

Those whose devices were attacked were either involved in the anti-democratic movement between 2020 and 2021 or were publicly critical of the Thai monarchy. The two groups said lawyers who defended the activists were also under such digital surveillance.

Pegasus spyware is known as the “Zero Click Exploit”. This means that the target can be installed remotely on the target’s phone without clicking a link or downloading software.

According to the company’s website, NSO Group’s products, including Pegasus software, are typically licensed only to government intelligence and law enforcement agencies to investigate terrorism and serious crimes.

The company has defended its business in the face of multiple legal challenges, stating that its sales decisions have undergone a rigorous ethical review process.

Reports by Citizen Lab and iLaw do not blame specific government officials, but state that the use of Pegasus indicates the presence of government operators.

Attacks on personal devices took place from October 2020 to November 2021 and occurred during the period of the anti-democratic movement nationwide, so at the timing “very relevant to a particular Thai political event”. did.

The Thai student-led democratization movement stepped up in 2020, primarily in response to the continued influence of the military on government and bi-royalist sentiment.

The movement was able to attract a crowd of 20,000 to 30,000 in Bangkok in 2020 and gained support in major cities and universities.

In 2014, the military overthrew the elected government, and coup leader Prayut Chan Ocha was appointed prime minister after the military-backed parties came to power in the 2019 general election.

“There is long-standing evidence that Pegasus exists in Thailand, indicating that the government is likely to have access to Pegasus during the period of the problem,” the researchers said in a report.

The more than 30 individuals targeted were also “very interesting to the Thai government.”

Researchers said the targeted victims and the timing of the attacks reflected information readily available to Thai authorities.

“The findings contained in this report suggest that NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware was used as part of these efforts to curb Thailand’s call for democratic reform,” Citizen Lab concludes. I attached it.

Protesters campaigned for Prayut and his government to resign, calling for reforms to make the monarchy more accountable and to amend the constitution to make it more democratic.

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Researchers say Thai democratic activists have been attacked by spyware | Technology

Source link Researchers say Thai democratic activists have been attacked by spyware | Technology

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