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Israeli spyware targets security cameras

Sold only to state organisations, it can be used to take control of these cameras and even modify recordings

Cyber risks - January 09, 2023

On 26 December 2022, the Israeli daily Hareetz ran an article on Toka, a company specialising in taking control of security cameras. The Israeli company, founded in 2018, is headed by former chief of national cybersecurity and former prime minister Ehud Barak.

Toka has offices in Tel Aviv and Washington. It sells its software only to state organisations. According to its website, it has customers in the United States, Canada, all Western European countries (including France) and Scandinavia.

Toka claims that its software can search for security cameras within a defined area. It can then take control of the IT systems controlling these cameras. The software is especially inconspicuous. It does not appear on the list of users of the cameras it is targeting. More importantly, it leaves no digital footprint in the infected device, unlike Pegasus for example.

Hareetz mentions that Toka can track the number plate of a vehicle on different cameras in a particular area.

Potentially more problematic is that the software is also capable of modifying camera recordings. Assuming Toka is not exaggerating the capabilities of its software, it could be used to alter physical evidence – and therefore the truth – without leaving any trace. Its power is potentially devastating, even if – in principle – only democratic organisations can use it.

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