Ex Intelligence officers of the United States government were working with the United Arab Emirates government. The Ex intelligence officers had been using a software that could spy on Apple iPhones. The name of the tool is called KARMA. The tool was used against extremist activist, diplomats and rival foreign leaders. Cyber tools are taking the lead in intelligence and espionage environments. Countries with smaller military forces are now focusing on cyber security because it is more cost effective and gives much better results in the field.
The tool helped the UAE to monitor hundreds of apple iPhone’s in the beginning of 2016.The people that were named that had been monitored with this tool were the Emir of Qatar, Senior Turkish officials and a nobel peace Laureate human rights activist in Yemen.
The tool Karma was used by an offensive cyber security operation unit in Abu Dhabi. The Ex intelligence officers of the United States were working in this division of UAE on contractual basis.
KARMA & RAVEN
The tool Karma and hacking unit with an alias of RAVEN have never been mentioned or said to have existed till today.
It was stated by the ex-Raven unit operative said that karma could grant access to the iPhones remotely. By uploading the Phone numbers and email accounts into a panel that had auto targeting ability. There are limitations to the tool that it couldn’t work on Android devices & it couldn’t intercept phone calls. The best thing about karma was that it didn’t need the victim’s interaction by clicking on any file or link.
It isn’t clear till date that if Karma is still in use or not, But stated by the ex-operative of unit raven stated that till the end of 2017, the updates that Apple released had fortified the security of the iPhone’s. Which made Karma less effective in the environment.
In 2016 to 2017 the main functionality options in the tool was that it had the ability to extract photos ,emails, text messages and Ping the location of the iPhone user because of the GPS chip in the phone. It could also take the passwords saved in the phone.
There is a cyber race going on in the Middle East between Qatar, Oman, KSA and UAE. Who will have the most sophisticated hacking tool to compromise the next side.
A tool like karma that can exploit hundreds of phones simultaneously. Are needed by a state to be active in cyber warfare. Just around 10 countries, for example, Russia, China and the United States and its nearest partners, are believed to have the ability to develop such weapons, said Michael Daniel, a previous White House cybersecurity autocrat under president Obama’s administration. Karma was developed not inside the UAE but actually it was purchased from outside and the creator of the tool was not known.
To get access into a person’s smartphone these days is as if you can read the mind of the person and know all his/her weaknesses and what the person capable is of.
DarkMatter an Emirati cyber security firm was funding the project Raven and was paying the Ex US intelligence personal. Multiple emails and phone calls were made to the organization but no response. Even National Security Agency (NSA) didn’t respond to the project.
The personal were taught how to operate Karma and to feed new targets to it. It had a GUI like Armitage. But the users did not know how the tool used to exploit the Apple iPhones.
But it was understood by the operators that the vulnerability was somewhere in the messaging system that was iMessage. The malware was inserted through the iMessage even if the victim didn’t use the program as if there was a loophole left in the program to establish a connection.
The hacker had to just send a message to the victim in which he did not have to even interact with.
The Raven team hacked into hundreds of iPhone’s of prominent Middle Eastern leaders. But no data was ever leaked.