Home The EU spyware problem, new investigation insights

The EU spyware problem, new investigation insights

October 11th – A recent media investigation has revealed that European Union-based entities have financed the development of and backed the sale of cyber surveillance tools, which have made their way into the clutches of authoritarian regimes.

This has occurred with the passive complicity of EU governments, according to the European Investigative Collaborations (EIC) network.

The investigation “…shows what we have long feared; that highly invasive surveillance products are being traded on a near industrial scale and are free to operate in the shadows without oversight or any genuine accountability,” says Agnes Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

Corporate spying consortium 

This spyware narrative centers around The Intellexia Alliance.

The Intellexia Alliance is a commercial coalition that consists of two divergent tech company networks, which collectively maintain at least half a dozen research laboratories throughout Europe.

The Alliance has come under fierce scrutiny for its development of Predator (along with other device surveillance products) and corresponding distribution across the globe.

An opaque and matrixed corporate structure, along with ties to government bodies, has enabled The Alliance’s activities to proceed unchecked, according to Amnesty International.

Thus far, more than 25 countries across Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa have been caught using the Intellexia Alliance’s mass surveillance products to undermine human rights, freedom of speech and nascent social movements.

Resolving spyware issues

This isn’t the EU’s first spyware scandal. However, European Union regulators haven’t made much progress in controlling spyware’s distribution and unlawful use.

In March of 2022, the European Parliament established a Committee of Inquiry to investigate the proliferation of the infamous Pegasus spyware, along with spyware of equivalent capabilities.

Experts contend that lack of political will among EU member states has led to stagnation and lack of resolution around the issue.

About Predator spyware

One of the dangers of Predator spyware, among many, is that it’s zero click, meaning that it can make its way onto a computer or a phone without any action from the end-user at all.

This technological feat can be accomplished through so-called “tactical attacks,” which can infect nearby devices.

Amnesty International has published indicators of compromise in order to assist IT teams and individuals in identifying and responding to Predator spyware.

Further insights

Get the full report from Amnesty International. If you’ve missed CyberTalk.org’s past spyware coverage, catch up here. Or, check out our nation-state threat-focused solutions brief, here.

Lastly, to receive timely cyber security insights and cutting-edge analyses, please sign up for the cybertalk.org newsletter.