image source, Reuters image caption Prosecutors say the men hacked into the UAE without getting US licenses required
Three former US intelligence officers have admitted to breaking US laws by carrying out hacking operations on behalf of the United Arab Emirates.
US prosecutors have said that the men had agreed to pay $ 1.7million (£ 1.2million) to resolve the charges of computer fraud, access device fraud and violation of export controls .
They worked for an anonymous company based in the United Arab Emirates and allegedly hacked servers, computers and phones all over the world.
There were no immediate comment from Emirati men or officials.
Earlier this year, The UAE has been accused of using malware from the Israeli company NSO Group to spy on journalists, dissidents and rival governments.
The US Department of Justice said former intelligence operatives - US citizens Marc Baier and Ryan Adams, and former US citizen Daniel Gericke - initially worked for a US company that provided e-services to a United Arab Emirates government agency in accordance with the International Trafficking in Arms Regulations (ITAR).
The Regulations require companies to obtain prior approval from the US government before disclosing information about a hacking operation and to agree not to target permanent resident US citizens or US entities.
En 2016, the three men joined the UAE-based company as senior executives and began carrying out hacking operations for the benefit of the UAE government without obtaining the required licenses from the United States. , according to the Department of Justice.
media caption What is it like to have spyware on your phone?
Over the next three years, he alleged, they oversaw the creation of two similar sophisticated hacking and intelligence-gathering systems "zero-click " - "Karma "and " Karma 2 "- which could compromise a device without any action from the target and allowed users to gain access to tens of millions of devices manufactured by an American technology company that did not been idEntified.
The Department of Justice s The company's aid workers had used the systems to illegally obtain and use credentials for online accounts issued by companies United States, and to gain unauthorized access to computers and mobile phones around the world, including the United States.
"Hackers-for-hire and those who support such activities in violation of US law should fully expect to be prosecuted for their criminal conduct," the Deputy Attorney General said by Acting Mark Lesko of the
The justice ministry said it has filed a complaint against the three men under a deferred prosecution agreement that requires them to pay financial sanctions, sever ties with UAE intelligence or law enforcement, and never ask for aUS security clearance.