Nigeria’s Defence Intelligence Agency has acquired equipment that it can use to spy on its citizens’ calls and text messages, according to a report by the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, which researches digital surveillance, security, privacy and accountability.

The report, titled Running in Circles: Uncovering the Clients of Cyber-espionage Firm Circles, said a telecom surveillance company by the name of Circles has been helping state security apparatuses across 25 countries, including Nigeria, to spy on the communications of opposition figures, journalists, and protesters.KEEP READINGSurveillance is getting under our skin – and that should alarm usWho is responsible when surveillance technology is misused?US charges 5 Chinese citizens in global hacking campaign

The Citizen Lab report also said Circles was affiliated with Tel Aviv-based NSO Group, an Israeli hacker-for-hire company, whose software, Pegasus, has allegedly been used by several governments to spy on dissidents by taking control of their smartphone, its cameras and microphones, and mining the user’s personal data.

Circles, on the other hand, is known for selling systems to exploit Signalling System 7 (SS7) vulnerabilities and claims to have sold the technology to several countries, according to the report.

SS7 is a system that allows one mobile network to connect with another.