19 episodes

Espionage, Murder and Pegasus Spyware come to light in a special partnership between Exile Content Studios and the Committee to Protect Journalists. Hosts Rose Reid and Nando Vila examine the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and his inner circle that had the world's most sophisticated military-grade spyware confirmed on their phones. It's called Pegasus. How did this spyware come to be, how does it work, and how vulnerable are you?

Every other week Shoot The Messenger investigates Pegasus, the Israeli technology company that makes it, the NSO Group, and the cyber war industry that is booming around it. You have heard the headlines — this is the deep dive.

Shoot the Messenger: Espionage, Murder & Pegasus Spyware PRX & Exile Content Studio

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.9 • 153 Ratings

Espionage, Murder and Pegasus Spyware come to light in a special partnership between Exile Content Studios and the Committee to Protect Journalists. Hosts Rose Reid and Nando Vila examine the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and his inner circle that had the world's most sophisticated military-grade spyware confirmed on their phones. It's called Pegasus. How did this spyware come to be, how does it work, and how vulnerable are you?

Every other week Shoot The Messenger investigates Pegasus, the Israeli technology company that makes it, the NSO Group, and the cyber war industry that is booming around it. You have heard the headlines — this is the deep dive.

    1. What Happened to Jamal Khashoggi?

    1. What Happened to Jamal Khashoggi?

    In 2018, Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Turkey and was never seen again. Weeks later, the Turkish intelligence released secret tapes of Khashoggi’s last moments before being brutally murdered, causing an international uproar. It has been four years since Khashoggi’s murder, and what we now know is that the first weapon used against Khashoggi was digital and it’s called Pegasus - a kind of software that can be used to hijack your phone; a military-grade, spyware software.

    Guests: Widow of Jamal Khahsoggi, Hanan Elatr; Washington Post Dana Priest; New York Times’ Carlotta Gall

    Shoot the Messenger is hosted by Rose Reid and Nando Vila and is a production of Exile Content Studio.

    • 44 min
    2. Discovering Pegasus Spyware - The Magic Worm

    2. Discovering Pegasus Spyware - The Magic Worm

    More than four years after journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, Khashoggi’s phones are still with Turkish authorities. We learned how Khashoggi’s wife, Hanan Elatr discovered she had been targeted, tracked and spied on by Pegasus, the military-grade spyware on her phone. She was not the only one. His colleague, Omar Abdulaziz, and fellow activist, Ahmed Monsoor, were also targeted.

    Guests: Citizen Lab Founder Ron Deibert; Citizen Lab Sr Fellow, Bill Marczak; New York Times’ Nicole Perlroth

    Shoot the Messenger is hosted by Rose Reid and Nando Vila and is a production of Exile Content Studio.

    • 41 min
    3. Who is the NSO Group?

    3. Who is the NSO Group?

    Shoot the Messenger: Espionage, Murder and Pegasus Spyware continues with its third episode of the series digging into the origin story behind the company that makes Pegasus spyware, the NSO Group. Israeli tech entrepreneurs Shalev Hulio and Omri Lavie initially developed remote access to smartphones, which evolved into Pegasus.  In a twist of fate, over the course of a decade, they have managed to beat out or outlast major competition in the spyware industry, including the Italian company Hacking Team.

    Guests: Keshet cybersecurity reporter Amitai Ziv; ReaQta CEO & former Hacking Team employee Alberto Pellicione; Security Advisor Ian Iftach Amit

    Shoot the Messenger is hosted by Rose Reid and Nando Vila and is a production of Exile Content Studio.

    • 41 min
    4. The Day Pegasus Breached WhatsApp

    4. The Day Pegasus Breached WhatsApp

    Shoot the Messenger: Espionage, Murder and Pegasus Spyware continues with its fourth episode, exposing what really happened at WhatsApp when it was breached by Pegasus in 2019.

    The WhatsApp breach is a critical moment because it has put everything the NSO Group has built at risk - calling into question their valuation of $2B, making a public enemy of Silicon Valley, and initiating several major lawsuits leading all the way to the Supreme Court. In many ways, this exploit changed the trajectory of the NSO Group and its Pegasus spyware. The continuous fallout - and potential legal precedents - could affect everyone with a smartphone.

    Engineers Claudiu Dan Gheorghe and Otto Ebeling take us behind the scenes of what it was like to be working at WhatsApp that fateful day where Pegasus used an exploit on the WhatsApp software. Across the globe, we'll see how the hacking of WhatsApp affected real people - like those fighting for independence in Catalonia, Spain.

    Guests: Financial Times journalist Mehul Srivastava, Security Advisor Ian Amit, and former WhatsApp engineers who witnessed the Pegasus breach, Otto Ebeling and Claudiu Dan Gheorghe

    Shoot the Messenger is hosted by Rose Reid and Nando Vila and is a production of Exile Content Studio.

    • 38 min
    5. WhatsApp and Facebook Take the NSO Group to Court

    5. WhatsApp and Facebook Take the NSO Group to Court

    Shoot the Messenger: Espionage, Murder and Pegasus Spyware continues with its fifth episode. As WhatsApp and Facebook bring NSO to court in the federal court, the future of the NSO Group is in jeopardy and their tactics are further exposed.


    After Pegasus breached WhatsApp - it started a chain reaction of negative events for the NSO Group, calling into question their valuation of $2B, making a public enemy of Silicon Valley, causing them to be blacklisted in the US, and initiating several major lawsuits leading all the way to the Supreme Court.


    Five months after the Pegasus breach, WhatsApp and their parent company Facebook (now Meta) filed a lawsuit against NSO Group in California. Apple followed suit, setting up a showdown between Silicon Valley and the NSO Group. And that’s not all - groups such as Access Now, Amnesty International, and the Committee to Protect Journalists banded together to file an amicus brief in support of the WhatsApp lawsuit. The potential legal ramifications of these cases could affect everyone with a smartphone - even you.


    Guests: Access Now's counsel Natalia Krapiva; Attorney Kyle McLorg


    Shoot the Messenger is hosted by Rose Reid and Nando Vila and is a production of Exile Content Studio.

    • 43 min
    6. How Are Ordinary Americans Supporting the Makers of Pegasus?

    6. How Are Ordinary Americans Supporting the Makers of Pegasus?

    Shoot the Messenger: Espionage, Murder and Pegasus Spyware continues with its sixth episode, breaking down the private equity funds behind the makers of Pegasus.

    The NSO Group has grown from a few founders working in a renovated chicken coop to being valued at over $2 billion dollars. Where did that money come from? We dive into the complex financial web behind the NSO Group, with a structure supported by pension funds, potential clients, and power players, and how they went from being valued in the billions to being strapped for cash.

    Shoot the Messenger is hosted by Rose Reid and Nando Vila and is a production of Exile Content Studio.

    Guests:  Financial Times’ Kaye Wiggins; Keshet journalist Amitai Ziv; Oregon activist Sravya Tadepalli

    • 36 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
153 Ratings

153 Ratings

JackieB57 ,

A must-listen

Anyone interested in the security & privacy of their lives & that of their friends & family should give a listen. If you love freedom & living in a democracy this is vital information - not politics. So east to listen to & understand. Well done. Can’t wait for Season 2!

Phillygirl0910 ,

Intriguing

I’m in healthcare by trade but this has opened my eyes to something different and I’m really considering going back to school to pursue something in writing or cyber security. The episodes always kept my attention and I can’t wait for the next season.

Spaulding67 ,

Love it

So far so good.

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