ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 143

search

Former PM Olmert worked for blacklisted Israeli company behind attack spyware

Ex-premier acknowledges having performed ambiguous advisory work for Intellexa, one of the firms behind Predator, but says he recently stopped

Former prime minister Ehud Olmert arrives for a court hearing related to the Netanyahu family lawsuit against him, at the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court on June 12, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Former prime minister Ehud Olmert arrives for a court hearing related to the Netanyahu family lawsuit against him, at the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court on June 12, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Former prime minister Ehud Olmert worked for an Israeli company that creates attack spyware and is blacklisted by the US for its alleged use by authoritarian regimes.

Haaretz first reported on Olmert’s involvement with Intellexa as part of a joint investigation with major international news organizations.

Olmert confirmed to the paper that he had done advisory work for Intellexa in the past but said he’d stopped several months ago, without elaborating further.

Intellexa, along with Cytrox, is behind the Predator spyware that turns a smartphone into a remote eavesdropping device and lets the attacker siphon off data.

The Haaretz report, part of a joint investigation with major international news organizations, cited correspondence from early 2022 between senior Intellexa officials and Bernd Schmidbauer, the former secret service coordinator for the German government, about setting up a meeting with the head of Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security (BSI).

The sides discussed holding a meeting that would involve a former Israeli prime minister. The meeting did not eventually happen.

Though the identity of the former Israeli leader in question was blacked out, Haaretz said, it discovered that this was in fact Ehud Olmert.

Olmert confirmed to Haaretz that he had advised Intellexa. The newspaper noted he was spotted in April 2022 dining in Berlin with Schmidbauer and Bundestag members.

Neither Olmert nor Haaretz provided further details on his involvement with the company.

Bernd Schmidbauer (YouTube screenshot: used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

In July of this year, the US Commerce Department said Intellexa dealt in exploits to break into IT systems, “threatening the privacy and security of individuals and organizations worldwide.”

Intellexa was established by former Israeli Defense Force intelligence officer Tal Dilian, who was previously associated with NSO Group, creator of the notorious spyware Pegasus.

According to Forbes, Dilian took over Cytrox in 2019 to make Intellexa a “one-stop-shop” for hacking and electronic surveillance services and products.

Screen capture of the Intellexa website, December 8, 2022. (Used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

According to marketing materials, Intellexa offered customers the ability to hack both Apple’s IOS and the Android operating systems.

Haaretz reported in June that state-owned defense contractor Israel Aerospace Industries was an early investor in Cytrox but sold its shares around early 2019 to Intellexa.

read more:
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed
image
Register for free
and continue reading
Registering also lets you comment on articles and helps us improve your experience. It takes just a few seconds.
Already registered? Enter your email to sign in.
Please use the following structure: example@domain.com
Or Continue with
By registering you agree to the terms and conditions. Once registered, you’ll receive our Daily Edition email for free.
Register to continue
Or Continue with
Log in to continue
Sign in or Register
Or Continue with
check your email
Check your email
We sent an email to you at .
It has a link that will sign you in.