Tal Dilian: How Mr Predator attempted to save his image

His name is linked to wiretapping scandals in Cyprus & Greece – the former Israeli intelligence officer is one of Europe’s most controversial figures. Solomon’s OSINT investigation reveals how a months-long campaign attempted to create a positive online narrative about Tal Dilian and his business activities.

By George Papadopoulos
Apr. 13, 2023

“From creating equal opportunities for disadvantaged youths to providing innovative solutions in the intelligence field, Tal Dilian’s search for a new challenge never ends.”

This is the first thing you read on the official website of Tal Dilian − the former commander of Israel’s elite military cybersecurity Unit 81 and current entrepreneur. A quick internet search of his name brings up his website: taldilian.com.

However, in recent years the Israeli businessman’s name has been in the limelight for less flattering reasons. Linked to surveillance scandals in Cyprus and Greece, Tal Dilian is one of Europe’s most controversial figures. His name is mentioned dozens of times in a report by the European Parliament’s PEGA Committee on the use of spyware surveillance software.

Using OSINT tools (Open Source Intelligence), Solomon reveals how the mastermind behind the Predator malware and a legal representative of the Intellexa corporation that markets it, attempted to reconstruct his online image by manipulating search engine results (such as Google), in order to bury negative reports and to strengthen the positive narrative about him and his business activity.

As part of a months-long online campaign, hundreds of automated links were allegedly utilized and posted to various addresses that were hosted on at least 18 platforms.

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Solomon’s investigation and data analysis of the campaign in question, and examination of the efforts of the “Israeli cyber tsar,” (as he was recently called in an article by Intelligence Online), to alter content about him, revealed the following:

  • Hundreds of automatically-generated articles link to specific websites that present Tal Dilian as a business genius and outline Intellexa in a positive light.
  • Search engines find that many articles refer to the websites in question (and therefore consider them “reliable”), so then they place “higher” in the preferences.
  • So when a user searches for keywords such as “Tal Dilian” and “Intellexa” the first results that appear are those which are promoted by the campaign.
  • At the same time, however, the campaign also serves a possibly more vital purpose: articles related to the same keywords, but which present incriminating evidence or negative publicity, get “pushed” to the bottom of the list of results.

A website that raises questions

Let’s start from the beginning.

While browsing the internet, we came across a website that initially caught our attention. The address is: taldilianintellexajbkx529.weebly.com and the title of the website is: Tal Dilian Intellexa best blog 1073.

Continue reading at wearesolomon.com

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