Corporate Espionage: International Giants Implicated in Israeli Industrial Spy Ring

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Talk about spyware versus spyware. Authorities in Isreal have arrested dozens of people, including high level executives of multinational corporations, in what increasingly is developing into the Internet Trojan spyware custerfluck of the year. Only on the Internet can a Trojan horse disgorge its contents in several places at once, and not only best the enemy but report back on what they are doing to Troy HQ.

But let’s start at the beginning. Amnon and Varda Jackont are a husband and wife writing team living in Israel. Amnon also teaches at a local university. Amnon’s newest novel, “L for Lies”, hit the presses in August of this past year. However, prior to that he noticed that chapters from the unreleased book had hit the Internet. At first he thought that some of his students had pulled the stunt, however as more and varied material of his appeared online, often altered in a way to defame or embarrass him, the Jackonts put two and two together and realized that someone was accessing their computer.


The Jackonts immediately suspected their ex-son-in-law, Michael Haephrati, and took their suspicions to the Israeli police, who in turn did their own investigation.

And what that investigation turned up, oh my!

It turns out that Haephrati not only wrote a Trojan program which sat on the Jackont’s hard drive and, according to Israeli police, allowed him “to control the computer, make changes to its programs, monitor everything it contained and raid it for information — all without leaving any hint of the Trojan’s existence”, but he also sold the same program to Israel’s three largest private investigation firms.

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Those three private firms in turn then alledgedly launched the Trojans to start spying on their clients’ competitors. The police in Israel say that the Trojan was spread “via e-mail or a promotional computer disk supposedly sent to the target company by a well-known and reliable business partner,” and that “dozens of companies — possibly including U.S. and European firms — might have been spied upon without realizing it.”

Companies already implicated include one of Israel’s largest satellite television companies, two cell phone companies, and both a Volvo/Honda importer and a Volkswagen/Audi importer, who were using the Trojan to spy on each other.

Executives from implicated companies are now under arrest. They deny any knowledge that the corporate intel they were receiving from their investigation firms was obtained illegally. Apparently the buck doesn’t stop there.

 

And for their part, the investigation firms claim that it wasn’t illegal.

In the meantime, the companies involved have been caught with their corporate pants down, and, well, summer in Israel just got a little bit hotter.

No Paywall Here!
The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?
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