IOTT Tangles, new cyberespionage, has already arrived in Mexico

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Another cyber espionage platform arrived in Mexico, from Israel. Its name is IOTT Tangles, and it is created by the company Cobweb Technologies. Sold to public security authorities in Mexico by the company Karsos SA de CV, this development allows the movements of individuals to be tracked without the need for a court order.

In addition to the classic telephone intervention, the equipment acquired to create the “espionage ecosystem” allows the massive extraction of data on smartphones or tablets that connect to the Internet, including the IMEI Code (fingerprint of each cell phone) to systems that eliminate any type of blocking on devices. Extracts information, even if it has been deleted, and processes it in more than 70 languages.

Not only is it possible to obtain total digital control of the subject under investigation, but also even the smallest detail of his or her private life, for example, what is his or her weight or state of health in general, as stated by some specialists who have been close to this platform. .

In addition to this, the purchase of the equipment allows for tracking services that are based on the massive acquisition of location data extracted from smartphones, often through unscrupulous mobile applications or advertisers in the applications, an unregulated and increasingly widespread location tracking.

“A Google search will only cover 10% to 15% of the web, which is called the surface web,” Eyal Bachar, CEO of Cobwebs Technologies North America, told Police Magazine in United States.

He says his company creates “AI-powered web intelligence solutions to make the web a safer place,” by enabling law enforcement officers and crime analysts to uncover the publicly available but hidden profiles and communications of criminals. They hide in the deep dark web.

“Unfortunately, the ability to manually search and retrieve relevant information at the right time is becoming an unrealistic task for crime fighters,” says Bachar. “This is where Cobwebs solutions come into play.”

The Tangles solution allows an officer to type any type of clue, such as a phone number or social media handle, into the system's search bar and find the identity of the person it is linked to, as well as other addresses and Unknown profiles found by searching the entire network. Open, deep and dark web. “It brings together a unified image of the person,” Bachar says. However, the problem comes when the platform is used for purposes other than security and citizen protection.

In Mexico, public security authorities in states such as Mexico, the country's capital, Jalisco and others use this platform. Chihuahua has even requested a quote for its acquisition.

When seeking more information in this regard, the authorities that have purchased the cyberespionage platform reserved all the information as “classified for national security issues”, under the precept that “providing information could hinder inter-institutional coordination systems in matters of public security.” , undermine or hinder strategies against crime, since it would reveal the technology or equipment used in this autonomous organization, as well as its reaction capacity, plans and strategies to combat crime.

Digital Undercover Agent

The El Salvador Police also contracted espionage equipment and software for $2.2 million in 2020 from a company “that belongs to an Israeli friend of President Nayib Bukele.”

According to documents from the Guacamaya hacker group, the National Police hired the company Eyetech Solutions for the “Web Tangles intelligence system with cloud storage and three users” for 680 thousand dollars, a “cellular geolocation system” for 480 thousand dollars and a “last-mile cell phone identification and location team” at a cost of $793,000 per year.

Web Tangles allows “deciphering the identity of a person behind a social media profile,” the local media published The lighthouse.

“Last mile” location equipment, the text adds, are “mobile antennas that can be carried on vehicles and function as signal receivers to capture information such as a person's location and infer who they are meeting with.”

In February 2022, more than a year after the contract was assigned, the Salvadoran Congress, with a pro-government majority, approved a controversial reform to the Criminal Procedure Code to, among other things, create the figure of the “digital undercover agent,” which The legalization of espionage was noted.

Who is behind Karsos?

According to data from the Public Registry of Commerce of the Ministry of Economy, Enrique Karchmer is the owner of Karsos SA de CV, who would be the intermediary in Mexico for Cobweb Technologies.

Both Karchmer Lask and Alejandro Karchmer Gittler are partners in another company established in 2020 called Comando Tipo Único SA de CV

Texas uses it against migrants

Under Operation Lone Star, the Texas government, headed by Greg Abbott, purchased the IOTT Tangles platform from Cobweb Technologies. The Department of Public Safety acquired access to software capable of locating and tracking people through their phones as part of the Republican governor's “border security disaster” efforts.

Like its competitors in the world of computer tracking tools, Cobwebs – which sells its services to the Department of Homeland Security, the Treasury and a series of undisclosed corporate clients in the United States – claims that its platforms are more powerful than Pegasus, from NSO Group, also Israeli.

In August 2021, the Texas Department of Public Safety's Intelligence and Counterterrorism division purchased one year of access to Tangles for $198,000, according to contract documents obtained through a public records request by Tech Inquiry, a watchdog organization. and research.

Texas has renewed its Tangles subscription twice since then, although the discovery that Cobwebs failed to pay taxes owed derailed the renewal last April.

A second contract document from 2021 shows that the DPS purchased “unlimited” access to Clearview AI, a controversial facial recognition platform that matches individuals with tens of billions of photos scraped from the internet that users grant or upload to networks. The purchase, according to the document, was made “in light of the Governor's ongoing and imminent Disaster Declaration for the Texas-Mexico border.”

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