Ghana secures second SPYWARE from QuaDream, another Israeli company


    Most Ghanaians may not be aware that Ghana has been named among 10 countries in the world that have servers for another deadly spyware developed by yet another Israeli company, QuaDream, one of the many Israeli tech companies specializing in spyware.

    A 2022 Reuters report citing Israeli corporate records and other sources says QuaDream was founded in 2016 by Ilan Dabelstein, a former Israeli military official, and by two former NSO employees, Guy Geva and Nimrod Reznik.

    Like NSO’s Pegasus spyware, QuaDream’s top product – called REIGN – could take control of a smartphone, and access instant messages from WhatsApp, Telegram, and Signal, as well as taking hold of emails, photos, texts and contacts, according QuaDreams.

    Citizen Lab found the existence and deployment of REIGN from analysis of a report submitted to it by Microsoft Threat Intelligence. Citizen Lab is an interdisciplinary laboratory based at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, University of Toronto, Canada.

    According to Citizen Lab, the analysis identified traces of a suspected iOS 14 zero-click exploit used to deploy QuaDream’s spyware.

    It further noted that the exploit was deployed as a zero-day against iOS versions 14.4 and 14.4.2, and possibly other versions.

    “The suspected exploit, which we call ENDOFDAYS, appears to make use of invisible iCloud calendar invitations sent from the spyware’s operator to victims,” Citizen Lab said in the report published in April 2023.

    This story may be a year late, but its relevance cannot be lost on anyone who knows that Ghana is heading to a crucial election in December. Spywares are known to have been used against opposition politicians, activists and journalists.

    For most other Africans who are concerned about the deterioration of governance and democracy in their countries, Ghana has become the symbol of a model democracy that they look up to, especially so, because the country is surrounded by troubled neighbours, some of whom have recently returned to military rule.

    But Ghana doesn’t seem to fully live up to that lofty position that other Africans and citizens of neighbouring countries hold the country to, as journalists and other activists are often arrested, detained and tortured for simply demanding accountability, and it is one of the countries that has obtained the deadly Pegasus spyware developed by the discredited Israeli company, NSO.

    There is also evidence that the Pegasus spyware has been deployed in Ghana. Three individualsconnected to the biggest opposition party in Ghana are known to have been targeted, and while some activists have indicated that they would demand a Parliamentary enquiry into the use of Pegasus in Ghana, that is not known to have been carried out yet.

    In 2019, the UK, US governments and Interpol also jointly procured and delivered to the Ghana government, another Israeli tech company’s product used for hacking.

    While for many years Ghana was known to have obtained the dangerous zero-click spyware, Pegasus, there has never been an official confirmation or denial. What has officially been known is that the country has the Pegasus hardware, but hasn’t obtained the software, an action that has landed some public officials in jail. Officials of the National Security and National Communication Authority were accused of causing financial loss to the country for purchasing the Pegasus hardware. Curiously, no mention was ever made during the entire period of the trial of the dangers that Pegasus could pose to citizens.

    While it is not clear why Ghana has obtained QuaDream’s spyware after the NSO and Pegasus scandal, two years ago some Israeli academics called for an investigation into the Ghana Pegasus deal, it is not yet known if an investigation was ever started.

    The countries where the QuaDreams servers have been found are Bulgaria, The Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, Mexico, Romania, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Ghana.


    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here