Volkskrant: AIVD used controversial NSO hacking tools to investigate Ridouan T. – Computer – News

Volkskrant: AIVD used controversial NSO hacking tools to investigate Ridouan T. – Computer – News
Volkskrant: AIVD used controversial NSO hacking tools to investigate Ridouan T. – Computer – News

The AIVD has used hacking software from the controversial NSO Group to track down Ridouan Taghi, sources tell de Volkskrant. It is probably the Pegasus tool, but it is not known how it was used.

De Volkskrant, which has a good reputation for news about the Dutch intelligence services, spoke to four anonymous sources who confirm that the AIVD has used hacking software from the Israeli NSO Group. It is the first time that there is evidence that a Dutch service uses such software. The newspaper does not state what specific software the General Intelligence and Security Service used, but it is most likely Pegasus, NSO’s most notorious software. This allows an iOS or Android device to be taken over without the user even having to click on a link.

The AIVD used the software in an investigation into Ridouan Taghi, the main suspect in the extensive Marengo criminal trial. Taghi is suspected of large-scale cocaine trafficking and ordering multiple murders. One of those murders was of lawyer Derk Wiersum. As a result of that specific murder, then Minister of Justice Ferd Grapperhaus is said to have asked the AIVD for help in tracking down Taghi. He had fled to Dubai at the time, where he was arrested shortly afterwards. As an intelligence service, the AIVD is not normally involved in tracing criminals, but the case was so serious that Grapperhaus still asked for help.

Neither the AIVD nor the NSO want to confirm anything to de Volkskrant about the use of the commercial hacking software. The fact that the AIVD uses this is striking on several points. The previous cabinet agreed that the Dutch police could not use hacking tools that were also sold to authoritarian regimes, but NSO does. It sold the Pegasus software to countries that use it to apprehend dissidents, political opponents and journalists. There are many examples of politicians being hacked with Pegasus, and Saudi Arabia used the phone in the murder of journalist Jamal khashoggi. However, the Dutch ban did not apply to intelligence services.

The Pegasus software is under fire from many quarters. Earlier this year, members of the European Parliament started an investigation into its use within Europe and the European privacy regulator is arguing for a European ban on the software.

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Volkskrant AIVD controversial NSO hacking tools investigate Ridouan Computer News

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