Middle Eastern Countries investing aggressively in Israeli Cyber espionage firms

Cyber Warfare Asia
2 min readAug 30, 2022


Israel is a small country, yet its cyber espionage firms are exceptionally successful. They have secured a crucial position in the global cybersecurity ecosystem. Their outstanding cyber espionage capabilities make the other countries like UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar etc to invest in their cyber firms.

As per media reports, Saudi officials have signed contracts with Israeli firms worth millions of dollars each year to acquire the most cutting-edge cyber espionage and surveillance technologies.

Last month Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that an Israeli company had sold cyber-espionage tech to Saudi Arabia, enabling the kingdom to track down political dissidents and pro-democracy campaigners and tap their communications.

Israeli cyber firms

On June 8, Israeli newspaper stated that Quadream led by a former Israeli military intelligence official, had been selling its services to Saudi Arabia for years.

Similar to Saudi Arabia, other Middle Eastern nations like UAE and Qatar also investing heavily on Israeli cyber espionage firms.

Even in 2019, Abu Dhabi a state-owned Investment Company had been invested in Cyber Spyware Company of Israel “NSO Group. NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware has been detected in the phones of journalists, Human Right Activists, and the ex-wife of Dubai’s ruler.

In 2017 After Israel and UAE normalisation, Mubadala’s €50mn committed to the agreement of the Novalpina capital private equity fund, which means that the administration of the Emirati Nation used this money to buy cyber weapon like NSO Group.

Unlike NSO Group, Candiru is an Israeli cyber intrusion firm known for selling spyware tools that are used against journalists, political dissidents and government’s regime.

Candiru received a boost from Qatar’s investors as several investment funds tied to Qatar Investment Authority took a stake in this spyware firm.

Over the past years, various independent investors have behind the funding of Candiru’s hacking operations. The three largest shareholders of Israeli Corporation Authorities namely Universal Motors Israel Ltd, ESOP Management and Trust services, and Optus Industry Ltd were seen in the allotment of shares in Candiru.

Leonardo O’Brien has served as the head of investment in Optus Industry Ltd and a board member of the Gulf Investment Fund and the sovereign Qatar Investment Authority that are having 12% stake in the Gulf Investment Fund through a subsidiary of Qatar Holding.

It is clear from the above articles that Middle Eastern nations have always depended on Israel for offensive and defensive cyber assistance as they itself do not have the capabilities to safeguard themselves from cyber risk.



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