The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) announced on 14 September a deferred prosecution agreement with two U.S. citizens and one former U.S. citizen who, on behalf of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), transferred protected information (ITAR/AECA) to the UAE; assisted the UAE in exploiting Apple’s operating system; and conducted network operations that compromised U.S. entities. All three individuals were former members of the U.S. Intelligence Community (believed to be the National Security Agency) or U.S. military, and were identified as Marc Baier, Ryan Adams, and Daniel Gericke.
Court documents reveal the three worked for a UAE-based company, identified as “UAE-CO” in court documents, and believed to be DarkMatter. This company provided computer network exploitation support to the UAE government’s National Electronic Security Authority (NESA) the UAE’s equivalent of the NSA. Of particular note, especially given the timing of the announcement, is the fact they provided “support, direction, and supervision in the creation of sophisticated ‘zero-click’ computer hacking and intelligence gathering systems” for DarkMatter.