Forbes had a story a few months back — I missed it until today when it was posted on Twitter by Jacob Silverman — about Tal Dilian, “a 24-year Israeli intelligence veteran and multimillionaire spy-tech dealer,” who heads up a firm called Intellexa. On its website, the firm says it “provides law enforcement and intelligence agencies with a comprehensive portfolio of premium, best of breed intelligence solutions, integrated to enable unique synergetic functionality.”
The story noted that equipment provided by Intellexa and other spy-tech firms — it’s a $12 billion industry — has been used to target politicians, human rights activists and journalists. “Don’t blame the dealers, blame the customers,” was Dilian’s defense. ““We are not the policemen of the world, and we are not the judges of the world.”
(Here’s an earlier story about Intellexa by Gizmodo.)
On its website Intellexa says it offers “network intelligence solutions that enable covert mass collection and analysis of data from a variety of sources”; cyber intelligence solutions that “provide multiple device infection and data extraction tools”; and field intelligence that enables “maximal operational flexibility while minimizing the risk of exposure” and that offer detection, location, interception, infection and analytics.”
Intellexa sells spy vans for customers’ field intelligence teams, which can cost up to $9 million. It’s described as “An end-to-end Field Intelligence solution, mounted on a covert mission vehicle.” Here’s what one looks like on the firm’s website.
AlphaSpear 360 – ALL-IN-ONE Field Intelligence Platform
In the Forbes story, the reporter accompanies Dilian in one of his firm’s vans in Larnaca, Cyprus, where Dilian has a home.
To show what it can do, Dilian has posted a colleague 200 yards away. “We will trace them, we will intercept them and we will infect them,” Dilian says, as if delivering a line from Ocean’s 11. He forces the mock target’s Huawei phone to connect to his Wi-Fi hub, and from there he hacks into the device, silently installing surveillance software. No clicks required from the victim. Inside the vehicle, seconds after they’re sent, WhatsApp messages from the device appear on a monitor in front of Dilian.
Just a few days ago, police confiscated a spy van in Cyprus, which the opposition party, Akel, suspects was being used to monitor it. The van was owned by a shell firm called Ws Wispear Systems Limited, which appears to be a cutout for Intellexa. (Dilian is one of the firm’s directors.)
If you’re in the market for a spy van, now’s your chance.
Milipol Paris, the “Leading Event For Homeland Security and Safety,” opened today and runs through November 22. Intellexa will apparently be on hand as it features the event on its website.