Kamla persists: Is govt using cytrox predator software? | Local News | #government | #hacking | #cyberattack

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar is sticking to her claims that the Government is utilising Israeli spyware equipment in this country.

At the United National Congress (UNC) virtual meeting last night, Persad-Bissessar questioned whether the Government is using Cytrox Predator software — a spyware that sometimes runs in parallel with Pegasus spyware.

She further questioned why National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds did not disclose that the Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) subsidiary group ELTA systems Limited of Israel is here in Trinidad conducting cyber spyware, malware and interception training on Monday and Tuesday this week at the National Operations Fusion Centre (NOFC)

She said this means that law enforcement is being shown how to use spyware, malware and interception to “terrorise” law-abiding citizens of Trinidad and Tobago.

She said the training was 9 a.m. at NOFC, Knowsley Building, #1 Queen’s Park West, Port of Spain and “hand-picked” security forces are being trained.

ELTA, she said, is a private company and the Government is utilising this private security firm that specialises in spyware, malware and interception.

With respect to the Cytrox predator software, Persad-Bissessar made reference to an article published in 2021 by researchers at the University of Toronto which states that spyware known as Predator is equally as dangerous as Pegasus.


She pointed out that researchers examined how both Predator and Pegasus together were used to hack into the phones of Egyptian journalists.

Persad-Bissessar said they also found country specific domain names that Predator uses for hacking. The Article lists Trinidad and Tobago as one of the countries with domains used by Cytrox.

“So Cytrox, the company which owns and makes Predator spyware, has taken out domain names based in Trinidad and Tobago and is therefore operating in our country,” she stated.

A table from the article showing Trinidad and Tobago listed was shown on a screen.

Company hacked

“I am asking the Government tonight, how long has Cytrox Predator software been used in our country to spy on citizens?” asked Persad-Bissessar. “And if the Government denies using Cytrox Predator spyware, the question then arises as to who is using this in our country,” she added.

She said she can wager that Government is going to claim that this cyber spyware, malware and interception training is being done to build cyber security capacity to protect critical information infrastructure.

Persad-Bissessar noted that the very company doing this training workshop was in fact hacked.

She said an article in the Jamaica Gleaner on February 28, 2021 stated that the Jamaican government, after months of silence, disclosed that it had signed a five-year Ja$4 billion contract with the Israeli firm ELTA Systems Limited. She said the article stated that a report by a technology website based in Israel revealed that ELTA’s servers were breached by Iranian-linked hackers.

“So, the company Jamaica claims they hired to protect them from cyber attacks got a cyber attack? You all understand that? And this is the company that Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and Hinds hired to bring here to train their handpicked persons about spyware, malware and interception. Come on!” she said.

Story not straight

Persad-Bissessar also called on Rowley to get his story straight.

“The latest with this saga of the Government’s spying spree is the conflicting statements by the Prime Minister. If nothing else should tell you that they are being untruthful it is the mere fact that the Prime Minister cannot get his story right,” she said. She noted that, first, the country heard that they have the software but it was used for criminals.

“Then we heard that they don’t have the software, then we heard that they have it but it is with the SSA, then we heard the former CoP procured it illegally. So tonight, I want to ask the Prime Minister to sort himself out, get his story straight and then come to the population. Prime Minister if you cannot be truthful then you must go!” she said.

Persad-Bissessar also noted that she is still waiting on Hinds to explain to the country the role of a “Constable Clement” in the interception of communication.

She said this constable cannot act on his own volition to intercept communications.

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