Spyware Maker Intellexa Sued by Journalist

The Greek journalist Thanasis Koukakis was spied on by his own government, with a commercial spyware product called “Predator.” That product is sold by a company in North Macedonia called Cytrox, which is in turn owned by an Israeli company called Intellexa.

Koukakis is suing Intellexa.

The lawsuit filed by Koukakis takes aim at Intellexa and its executive, alleging a criminal breach of privacy and communication laws, reports Haaretz. The founder of Intellexa, a former Israeli intelligence commander named Taj Dilian, is listed as one of the defendants in the suit, as is another shareholder, Sara Hemo, and the firm itself. The objective of the suit, Koukakis says, is to spur an investigation to determine whether a criminal indictment should be brought against the defendants.

Why does it always seem to be Israel? The world would be a much safer place if that government stopped this cyberweapons arms trade from inside its borders.

Posted on October 7, 2022 at 6:13 AM20 Comments


JonKnowsNothing October 7, 2022 6:45 AM


re: Why does it always seem to be Israel?

Likely for the same reason it always seems to be Russia…

We only advertise a few villains at a time because otherwise the List of Dramatis Personae would be too long for people to remember Who’s WHo in the WhoDoneIt.

KISS-KISS – Keep it simple … for the simple..

Clive Robinson October 7, 2022 7:59 AM

@ Bruce, ALL,

Re : Why Israel.

“Why does it always seem to be Israel?”

Has two basic answers,

1, It has to be done somewhere.
2, It’s done because value is seen in it.

Which brings to a couple of points,

Firstly, it’s not just Israel, we know that Australia, France, and the UK and US do the same and are each probably worse than Israel. It’s just that the MSM is controled by the likes of Rupert “the bear faced lier” Murdoch who sees himself as a “King Maker” thus excercises “editorial control” which would be better considered “censorship”. Thus though known it’s not publicised. Also much of the MSM has little or no care ranging through direct antithesis for the Israeli Government (!!!ALL note I make a strong distinction between the Goverment of Israel and the general population and jews in other parts of the world!!! So don’t bother starting the usual “troll factory” crap, as I will as I always do call you on it).

Secondly, it’s also who cuts the paychecks for those making the tools. In older larger goverments it tends to be the Governments directly or indirectly. Whilst in Israel the Goverment is too small and has “war footing” financial considerations, thus the employers are “Private Sector” via foreign Venture Capatalists.

Thirdly, tracing back many of the exploits shows they are purchased from “kids” living in certain south american nations where taxation and living costs are much more benificial. If you have a one off $1million payment in places like Argentina you will easily not have it taxed and with care will keep you in a comfortable life style for less than $20,000/year.

In short this sort of business has been seen as potentially highly profitable by certain types of low moral and ethics investors. It’s an international business (brain power generally is). The reason “Israel” gets the spotlight is other people play politics and economics.

Which brings us to,

“The world would be a much safer place if that government stopped this cyberweapons arms trade from inside its borders.”

It’s “international” so it should be all goverments, especially Australia, UK, US who’s Goverments are in no way “arms length” but right up close and personal giving health care, pensions and other benifits to those with the brains.

Denton Scratch October 7, 2022 9:09 AM

It’s always Israel because Israel is a hyper-paranoid country. They think they have enemies everywhere, because, well, they do.

I wonder how many Israeli civilians are “former Israeli intelligence commanders”?

Wikipedia says of NSO Group:

“NSO Group has come to employ over 700 personnel globally. Almost all of NSO’s research team is made up of former Israeli military intelligence personnel, most of them having served in Israel’s Military Intelligence Directorate, and many of these in its Unit 8200. The company’s most valuable staff are graduates of the military intelligence’s highly selective advanced cyberweapons training programs.”

So the government trains paranoid Israelis to be spies and cyberweapons experts, then sets them loose to found cyberweapons companies. If Israeli intelligence ran a highly-selective safecracking course, safe doors would be getting blown off all over the place.

“You’re only supposed to blow the bloody door off!”

~ Michael Caine

Ted October 7, 2022 10:23 AM

Per Haaretz:

“According to sources, Intellexa is de facto a private cyber intel organization operating outside Israeli oversight.”

Quantry October 7, 2022 10:36 AM


OPENS SOURCE of gizm link… heaves

I dont think we need worry about Israel specifically, when we download it willingly, hourly, in such as the given link. Far more profit to smell fox’s own hole before entering.

Disable yer dns prefetch.

JonKnowsNothing October 7, 2022 12:41 PM

@Denton Scratch

re: I wonder how many Israeli civilians are “former Israeli intelligence commanders”?

In the David Hare production of Johnny Worricker trilogy: Turks & Caicos, there’s a nice repartee exchange between MI5 Johnny and CIA Curtis:

Johnny Worricker : Whatever happened to the idea of shame?

Curtis Pelissier : Shame… went the way of honour. Didn’t it?

Curtis Pelissier : It’s been a fascinating few years, you could say, since 9-11. You know how many Americans now work in intelligence?

Johnny Worricker : I don’t know.

Curtis Pelissier : Over two hundred thousand, in sixteen different agencies, with thirty thousand private contractors in a hundred and seventy countries, at a grand cost to the taxpayer of seventy-five *billion* dollars a year, and they still call it the intelligence community! I don’t think so.

iirc Everyone in Israel is a member. Since only a few are still exempt, you don’t have to guess. It’s not an “intelligence community”, the size of the population.

Ray Dillinger October 7, 2022 1:02 PM

Israel? That seems a bit like blaming the windmill for the storm.

Yes, Israel has more than the usual number of players whose names are publicly known, who file business papers and get taxed. But it’s like blaming the baristas at Lloyds’ Coffee House for the mortgage insurance meltdown of 2008. It’s not the business, it’s only a location where the business is more than usually visible.

Half of them are reselling things they’ve got from black-hats in the USA and Russia, and half of them had their development work done by gray-hat independent contractors “on spec” in Africa, South America, and Eastern Europe who probably also provided it to several criminal customers each, and half of them are supported by money they get from the US, UK, AU, CN, and NZ, and half of them are supported by money they get from RU, CN, NK, EG, IR, SA, and KP, and half are courting the increasingly militarized police of dozens of countries including countries which regard each other as enemies.

And these halves overlap in every possible combination.

Both supply and demand are worldwide. As I see it these Israeli brokers may actually be a good thing because visible trade has the function of alerting people to a threat that would exist whether it were visible or not. People are inclined to ignore or deny security threats, but a threat can’t be ignored if it becomes publicly available on an open market. They’re forcing people to fix their damn bugs, however slowly and with however much bitching and screaming.

Denton Scratch October 7, 2022 1:38 PM

@Ray Dillinger

and half are courting the increasingly militarized police of dozens of countries including countries which regard each other as enemies.

I count five halfs there.

You make a bunch of bald assertions to the effect that all this work is done by USAians, or Eastern Europeans of somew flavour or other. Do you have evidence?

If the Israeli intelligence services are specifically training leet cyberwarriors, doesn’t it seem more likely the Israeli intelligence services are specifically training leet cyberwarriors? What are they supposed to do when they’re discharged? And if what they do is legally marginal, who will they ask to provide them with cover?

Are you really saying you think these hackers don’t have Israeli government cover?

David Leppik October 7, 2022 3:39 PM

It’s a small, high-tech country on a permanent war footing with few other things to export. An obvious comparison would be Estonia, a small, high-tech country which exports a lot of software and borders a threatening enemy (Russia.) One major difference would be that Estonia has worked hard to integrate its Russian minority, while Israel has not done the same with the Palestinians. This probably leads to a much different perspective on human rights. Another major difference is that Estonia is part of the E.U., and borders with close allies, while Israel is more physically isolated. Also, it doesn’t help that the world is full of anti-Semites, while there are very few anti-Estonians. As they say, it’s not paranoia if everyone really is out to get you.

Clive Robinson October 7, 2022 6:32 PM

@ Denton Scratch,

“I count five halfs there.”

But you appear not to have read what @Ray Dillinger further said to qualify what he ment with,

“And these halves overlap in every possible combination.”

He’s talking of Venn Diagram circles made from relationship lists with many sellers and many nation buyers of their goods.

So lets say 10 sellers and 100 nation buyers, you would have a very long list as many of those buyers would buy from multiple sellers.

OK it could be better worded in a longer form, but have a think about it, it does work out.

Weather October 7, 2022 8:23 PM

If you have to follow a trail that long it must be correct, wasn’t there some advice on that.
EV cars ,oil county, just a little title for tat, but after reading the Gundiadian newspaper, minor ,but others still could kick up a storm,
And that last major key word, that I’ve lost the book helped, know back to c4 with off the self tec.

John White October 7, 2022 11:56 PM

The zionist entity solely exists to torture, rape, and kill Palestinians, the sole native inhabitants of the land that ‘israelis’ squat upon.

That’s the ideological purpose of their fake ‘nation’.

Why is it surprising that what they do to make money is similarly morally bankrupt?

Dave October 7, 2022 11:56 PM

Interesting to note that almost all of the replies have completely ignored the meat of the story and responded only to a single editorial comment at the end. Either it was lunch break in Israel at the time this was posted and everyone had some spare time to comment or there’s an awfully strong lobby that leaps in to respond to anything mentioning Israel.

To actually comment on the post, I was actually thinking the same thing when I saw the article, it really does seem to be Israel a lot of the time.

Ray Dillinger October 8, 2022 12:05 PM

Yes I am.

And I’ll stand by it. Bitcoin is some good code and solid cryptography. Not that I contributed much to that beyond code review, but it is.

And it didn’t help. It was supposed to be a system that enabled implicit honesty and the provable truth of every financial statement, and instead it prompted more and bigger financial scamming than anything since the Futures Market.

And it wasn’t ready for wide deployment anyway. The public append-only blockchain is a good idea, but if digital cash is ever going to scale so ordinary people can use it for routine transactions we need a better idea.

Givon Zirkind October 12, 2022 12:54 PM

Reintegration of soldiers is always an issue. In Israel, everyone goes to the army–unless you get a psych discharge. When these guys get out, if they didn’t do something that could get them into a trade (like mechanic or medic to doctor, with some schooling) they do what they know. The law abiding go into security careers. The non law abiding, who slipped through the cracks and weren’t discharged, go into “credit & collections” or whatever.

Clive Robinson October 12, 2022 3:47 PM

@ Givon Zirkind, ALL,

Re : Jobs for the boys.

“Reintegration of soldiers is always an issue.”

Especially when there are no jobs, and their “reintegration pay” is at best modest.

One immediate problem is alcohol and drugs, it’s not said much but troops on “active service” often need intoxicating substances just to deal with the stress. Obviously getting off such substances when your life has become majorly stressful due to unemployment no home etc, and you do not have your “buddy support” network can have several unfortunate outcomes.

Even with a job, and home, family life can be beyond stressful. Unless you’ve been involved in active service it’s difficult to describe the problems of aquired hyper-vigilance and not being able to go for a walk when other people are around, and how that can cause problems with local law enforcment who tend to see such young men as “prowling around in the dark” thus “upto no good”.

Even when you can turn off you tend to turn off too much thus you walk into bad situations you otherwise would not have.

Remember you are “Only a Hero, in the parade” the rest of the time you are seen as a problem to be shifted onto somebody else as quickly as possible…

Soldiers don’t live to fight another day unless they re-enlist, but many do end up battling every day just to cling by their fingernails at the edges of society, and many fall.

It will be Rememberence Sunday in less a month, take a moment not just to slip a few coins in the collection tin, but also to think about what those who do come back have lost.

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