In this Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018 photo, a Katim secure phone is on display at the offices of the cybersecurity firm DarkMatter, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)
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DarkMatter, a growing cybersecurity company in the United Arab Emirates that's recruited Western intelligence analysts, is stepping out of the shadows amid concerns by activists about its power and potential targets. The company's founder and CEO, Faisal al-Bannai, says DarkMatter takes part in no hacking, although he acknowledges the firm's close business ties to the Emirati government, as well as its hiring of former CIA and National Security Agency analysts.Bannai told the Associated Press his company carefully chooses its clients, while leaving the ethical decisions about privacy and surveillance in wielding its powerful technology to its governmental customers, which include the Dubai police.Authorities say surveillance keeps the UAE safe.The agency is also registered as having offices in the Aldar building.However, human rights activists and others have been targeted by hacks suspected to be directed, if not conducted, by the UAE government.Mansoor and others believed the United Arab Emirates was behind the attack, as it involved so-called "zero day" exploits – flaws in programming that hackers can use to potentially install spyware or gain control of a system – that can be worth over a million dollars each. Mansoor was arrested by UAE authorities last March for his online posts.
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