Wed Nov 3rd, 2021 at 08:54:58 PM EST
Israeli PM Bennett and French President Macron agreed to deal "discreetly" with the alleged hacking by NSO's spyware on French targets, including the president himself.
Bennett speaks with Macron about NSO scandal, Iran nuclear threat | Times of Israel |
A long history of selling Pegasus spyware to authoritarian regimes who aim to dispose of critics ...
A serie of diaries on NSO Group and Pegasus:
A Serial Predator from Dubai
Israel's Pegasus Used to Hack Reporter NYT
Israeli spyware company NSO Group placed on US blacklist | The Guardian |
NSO Group has been placed on a US blacklist by the Biden administration after it determined the Israeli spyware maker has acted "contrary to the foreign policy and national security interests of the US".
The finding by the commerce department represents a major blow to the Israeli company and reveals a deep undercurrent of concern by the US about the impact of spyware on national security.
The company's signature spyware - known as Pegasus - is alleged to have been deployed by foreign governments against dissidents, journalists, diplomats and members of the clergy, with several alleged victims in the UK. Its clients have included Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Hungary and India.
The new designation - which places NSO in the company of hackers from China and Russia - comes three months after a consortium of journalists working with the French non-profit group Forbidden Stories, revealed multiple cases of journalists and activists who were hacked by foreign governments using the spyware, including American citizens.
Pegasus: Saudi Tracking Software for Dissidents | Oct. 20, 2018 |
US blacklisting of NSO Group shows view of major technology company as a grave threat
John Scott-Railton, a senior researcher at Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto, which has documented dozens of allegations of abuse involving NSO spyware’s use against journalists and members of civil society, said the placement of NSO on the blacklist would have an immediate “chilling effect”.
The question now is what effect the US move will have – given how strategically important the surveillance industry is to Israel, one of the world’s largest exporters of spyware and similar tools. Technically, NSO’s inclusion on the so-called Entity List means that the company requires a special license to use any US-originating technology in its services.
NSO said it was “dismayed” by the news and would challenge the findings. Rod Rosenstein, the former deputy attorney general who serves as a lawyer for NSO, did not comment on whether he would continue to represent the company.
Nazak Nikakhtar, a former commerce department official who now serves as a partner at the Washington DC law firm Wiley Rein, said the move to add NSO to the US blacklist showed the US had become “hyper-vigilant” on issues around surveillance and cyber attacks, even when they involve nations that are allies.