After Edward Snowden scooping incidence of National Security Agency (NSA), every country went frisk on spying. An Indian coder, Manish Kumar promised the  President of Mauritania to help them build a mini-NSA like an electronic spying apparatus.

Kumar, who owns a spying company Wolf Intelligence,  met Ahmed Bah dit Hmeida, an official with the innocuous-sounding title of counselor to the president, made a deal to develop a sophisticated technology  . The total contract was worth $2.5 million, and they transferred half a million dollars into BVI account of Wolf Intelligence(Manish Kumar) as a down payment.

Mauritania is perhaps among  one of the few countries in the world where slavery still exists, and known for spying against journalists, activists, and political opponents. Since 1960, it has seen 10 coups.

Mauritania expected Wolf to develop a software that  would allow them  to attack and spy on  multiple targets  at a time over a large network. The network mainly  include  a nationwide mobile phone provider. The  promotional literature of Wolf  promised  to build a silent SMS attack technique that allows full control of someone’s smartphone without requiring the target to click on a link or otherwise interact. Mauritania targets  individuals accused of terrorism, but occasionally they’re journalists or protesters, too.

For this, Wolf needed a special  team of coders who are  capable of circumventing security measures on Apple smartphones. Kumar knew that hackers in Israel had developed it. However, it cost $1 million. That was only possible when  Mauritania  deliver its next payment.

Bah had warned Kumar that if  Wolf’s system wasn’t fully functional by the end of the visit, neither Kumar nor the technician he’d brought with him would be leaving the country. Uncertain of his intentions,  Kumar joked he would need a vegetarian meal in Jail.

“One small mistake and everything’s gone—money, life, everything”

Kumar tried his best  to explain that he didn’t have the silent SMS exploit yet, but Bah didn’t believe him. After this Bah  prevented  Kumar and his colleague  Nafees Ahmed from leaving Mauritania. But Kumar managed to flew to Europe.

According to Kumar, Mauritania agreed to pay the remaining balance of $2 million if he would send someone to the country until the software was operational.

An Israeli acquaintance helped  Kumar by putting him in touch with Tel Aviv-based exploit broker named David “Dudi” Sternberg, who said he could provide what Kumar needed.

The deal did not go through. And Kumar could not deliver the exploit. He had “Nafees Ahmed” leave the country saying that he is sick. But Replaced him with an Italian Bodyguard called ” Cristian Provvisionato ” and fooled the officials into believing that he was part of the company. But  Cristian Provvisionato  was only hired to come to the country as a “Bodygurad” and was not explained what he was getting himself into. Finally Kumar escaped the country leaving  Cristian Provvisionato  behind. The Officials arrested  Cristian Provvisionato  and charged him to cheating the government , he is still in jail for the last 14 months whereas Kumar and Ahmed roam free. They have completely abandoned him. 

key points:

-Cyber weapons are banned to be sold. Islamic Republic of Mauritania has poor human rights record and slavery still exist. These tools will be misused. 

Wolf intelligence is registered in Germany(Munich), CEO is Swiss named Martin Wyss. Germany and Swiss government should introspects if their soil is used for selling cyber surveillance technology/weapon technology to Islamic republic of Mauritania. 

– US Wassenaar_Arrangement prevents selling of surveillance/monitoring to countries.

– India should investigate because both nafees ahmed and manish kumar are Indian citizen and have got 9.75 crore into bvi islands shell company. They are Indian citizens with Indian passport(with german visa, german registered companies). They can be investigated by Income tax/DRI/CBI for money laundering and moving money to tax havens for selling cyber weapon.

– The silent SMS exploit kumar talks about to sell to islamic republic of Mauritania comes from israeli exploit broker. It is interesting to observe that Mauritania has severed all diplomatic ties with Israel.

– The imprisonment of the Italian Nationa l” Cristian Provvisionato ” due the actions of Kumar should be investigated.

Orginal article from: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-01-18/the-post-snowden-cyber-arms-hustle



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