Sales of basic phones are rising in Israel for fear of hacking

The Israeli importer of Nokia products claims to have recorded a 200% increase in sales of “normal” phones in the past week.

This increase is said to be linked to some Israelis ‘concerns about spyware such as Pegasus (NSO Group), following police forces’ alleged espionage against civilians.

Phones other than smartphones have limited internet connection, if not zero, and do not allow navigation more than access to messaging platforms such as WhatsApp, Telegram … making them more difficult to infiltrate.

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The financial newspaper Calcalist said Monday, without quoting any source or evidence, that spyware was deployed without the necessary legal permits against senior government officials, mayors, activists, journalists, as well as family members and advisers to former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

According to data provided by HY Group to the news media Walla, more than 4,000 basic Nokia devices have been purchased in the last three days. In a normal week, it sells between 1,000 and 2,000 units.

Liav Ron, Nokia Brand Manager at HY Group, told Walla that “there has been a sharp increase in sales of these older generation phones … They are basic phones’ limited to calls and text messages, which experienced a completely unexpected increase in their sales.

Asked about the security of the devices, he said: “Only hackers and law enforcers can answer exactly this question, but on the whole, older generation phones that are not smartphones are devoid of content like Facebook or Instagram, which immediately limits the scope of You can buy basic phones that provide access to WhatsApp, but on most devices it is only possible to make messages and calls. “

The simplest phone, which only allows you to receive and make calls and send / receive SMS, costs around 100 shekels.

Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman posted a picture of his older generation’s phone on Twitter on Monday, saying: “For years, everyone was wondering how I could do without a smartphone – now everyone knows I’m doing really well!”

Base phones from the Finnish company Nokia – once a worldwide success – remain popular among some ultra-Orthodox circles in Israel because they do not allow access to the Internet while still being contactable. They are also sometimes used by older people who find smartphones difficult to use.

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