Splainer

Tuesday, December 22 2020


Dive In

We tracked the spyware for six months and found that at least 36 Al Jazeera staffers were hacked. They have used some of the content they stole from the phones to blackmail journalists, by posting private photos on the internet.

That’s Tamer Almisshal, an investigative journalist with Al Jazeera, confirming the findings of a new report by Canadian cybersecurity researchers. The reporters were hacked using an Israeli spyware tool called Pegasus—which gained access to all their apps, messages, photos and microphone. The ‘zero click’ method does not require the person to open a file or link. The malware is delivered via an SMS message. The likely clients of the hackers: the UAE and Saudi government. FYI: Pegasus was also used to spy on activists and journalists in India.

Big Story

The astonishing confession of a Russian agent

The TLDR: Russia’s most prominent Opposition leader Alexey Navalny was poisoned with a deadly nerve agent called Novichok back in August. He survived and is now in hiding in Germany. A CNN investigation followed by a ‘sting’ operation by Navalny himself has now revealed an elite unit of poisoners—and the exact circumstances of the assassination attempt. This is a bizarre tale worthy of John Le Carré. Though his Russian spies were positively genteel compared to this new breed of assassins.

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In today’s edition

Headlines That Matter

  • Delhi High Court’s tough ruling on Amazon
  • Hathras investigation exposes UP police
  • Joe Biden took his Pfizer jab on television
  • Early humans hibernated during winter

 

Smart & Curious

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