Saudi Arabia accused of hacking London-based dissident

Saudi Arabia accused of hacking London-based dissident







Ghanem Almasarir at a protest outside the Saudi embassy in London last year calling for justice for Jamal Khashoggi.
Photograph: Robin Millard/AFP/Getty Images

Saudi Arabia has been accused of launching a sophisticated hacking attack against a prominent dissident in London who is allegedly living under police protection, according to a letter of claim that has been sent to the kingdom and seen by the Guardian.


The letter of claim, which was delivered to the Saudi embassy in London on Tuesday, was sent on behalf of the Saudi satirist Ghanem Almasarir, and alleges he was targeted by Saudi Arabia with malware developed by the NSO Group, the controversial Israeli surveillance company.


NSO’s Pegasus software has allegedly been used by Saudi Arabia and other governments to target journalists, human rights campaigners and political activists.


A report earlier this month found that the spyware had previously taken advantage of a glitch on WhatsApp to try to gain access to a phone used by a British lawyer involved in a civil case against NSO Group.


According to the letter of claim, Almasarir received suspicious text messages in June 2018. These were tracked by independent experts to a Pegasus operator who was “focused on Saudi Arabia” and were linked to a separate attack against another Saudi critic.


The letter of claim alleges that certain indicators on Almasarir’s two Apple iPhones, coupled ..