Israeli firm “Intellexa” pitching spyware tool to Middle East countries. Saudi, Qatar among key clients
According to a global investigation research on ‘Predator Files’ published in October, Israeli-based intelligence firm, Intellexa, which offers cyber surveillance tools, sold its spyware products to Egypt for state surveillance. The tool is being used to keep an eye on critics of the regime.
Intellexa has also pitched its capabilities to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Malaysia, Cameroon, Mauritius, Sierra Leone and others.
Intellexa was, at least until recently, registered in Greece and has related entities in Ireland and North Macedonia. It serves as a one-stop-shop for state surveillance needs.
The investigation is based on documents and communications linked to a firm called Nexa, a French cyber intelligence company. The partnership between Intellexa and Nexa was signed in 2019 and continued at least until 2021.
In February 2019, Tal Dilian and Nexa executives formed the Intellexa alliance. Their goal was to become a global leader in cyber intelligence with advanced technologies. They successfully achieved their goal and began competing for leadership not only in Europe but also in the global cyber espionage industry.
In January 2020, Nexa signed a deal with a firm called Gamma International, a Germany-based cyber intelligence firm. Gamma was to serve as an intermediary for the sale of Intellexa-Nexa products to Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
According to a past report from WikiLeaks, Qatar’s State Security Bureau (SSD) has been a customer of Gamma Group. WikiLeaks estimated that the cost of the licenses sold to Qatar was around €683,700 (QR3.22 million). It claimed to have an actual list of 17 alleged customers, such as police departments or intelligence agencies from Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Estonia, Hungary, Italy, Mongolia, Nigeria, Netherlands, Pakistan, Singapore, Slovakia, Qatar, South Africa and Vietnam.
A proposal was also found on Nexa computers that had been drawn up especially for Qatar, though it did not include spyware. Pitches were made to Saudi Arabia as well, a country long suspected of being a client of Nexa. However, a detail of sales is yet to be confirmed.
According to intelligence online, Intellexa achieved rapid success over the last two years after picking contracts from its competitors, like NSO, who have had to double back due to allegations of involvement in cyber activities.In the Middle East, NSO’s withdrawal enabled Intellexa to gain a lasting foothold with Abu Dhabi authorities, who were keen to create a local cyber-intelligence ecosystem.
Clearly, Intellexa is looking to expand its foothold in the field of cyber intelligence in the Middle East and other regions.