General News

Israeli software allegedly used to spy on Ethiopian dissidents

Date: Dec 7, 2017

Israeli defense contractor, Elbit Systems Ltd, was used to spy on Ethiopian dissidents living outside the East African nation as part of an ongoing espionage campaign, according to Citizen Lab.

Citizen Lab, which helps defend human rights activists against spy software, said on Wednesday that Ethiopian citizens living in Britain, the United States and other nations were also targeted, with emails seeking to infect their computers with surveillance tools from Elbit’s Cyberbit unit.

Declining to comment directly on the allegation, Cyberbit, released a statement saying it only sells surveillance products to law enforcement, defense, intelligence and national security agencies approved by the Israeli government. "The intelligence and defense agencies that purchase these products are obligated to use them in accordance with the applicable law," it said.

Ethiopian Communications Minister, Negeri Lencho, refused to comment.

According to Citizen Lab, the attacks, this began in 2016 and continued through 2017, attempted to infect the computers of the Ethiopian dissidents with Cyberbit’s Surveillance System, or PSS, which can extract information including emails, passwords, and audio conversations.

The Oromos peoples, from Ethiopia’s largest region Oromiya, which has been subjected to a crackdown by the national government since 2015 were the focus of this alleged cyber spying campaign .



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