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Israeli Hacking NSO Group Added to Black List

by Oui 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.

Related ...


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by Oui (Oui) on Wed Nov 3rd, 2021 at 10:59:15 PM EST

UN Security Council Resolution 2462 (2019) calls upon UN Member States to combat and criminalize the financing of terrorists and their activities, reaffirms principles contained in UNSCR 1373 (2001) and urges all Member States to implement FATF Standards.

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by Oui (Oui) on Fri Nov 5th, 2021 at 12:39:05 PM EST

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by Oui (Oui) on Fri Nov 5th, 2021 at 10:26:33 PM EST

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by Oui (Oui) on Fri Nov 5th, 2021 at 10:27:48 PM EST

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by Oui (Oui) on Mon Nov 8th, 2021 at 10:52:33 AM EST

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by Oui (Oui) on Mon Nov 8th, 2021 at 10:56:00 AM EST
FM Yair Lapid distanced Israeli government from the NSO Group

Israel Distances Itself From Blacklisted Pegasus Spyware Maker NSO | NDTV |

The company sends its products abroad under licences from Israel's Defence Ministry, which has launched its own probe of the company's practices after the alleged software misuse emerged.

No results have been announced and Israel has given no indication so far that it was considering limiting the scope of NSO's exports.

"NSO is a private company, it is not a governmental project and therefore even if it is designated, it has nothing to do with the policies of the Israeli government," Lapid told a news conference in Jerusalem. "I don't think there is another country in the world which has such strict rules according to cyber warfare and that is imposing those rules more than Israel and we will continue to do so."

His comments are the first made publicly by a senior Israeli minister since the U.S. Commerce Department announced the blacklisting on Wednesday.

In the past, NSO Group has been accused of selling hacking tools to authoritarian regimes. NSO says it only sells its products to law enforcement and intelligence agencies and takes steps to curb abuse.

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by Oui (Oui) on Mon Nov 8th, 2021 at 12:50:37 PM EST
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From Sheikh Jarrah to Silwan, Israel's ethnic cleansing goes with impunity | Jordan Times |

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by Oui (Oui) on Mon Nov 8th, 2021 at 12:53:39 PM EST
by Oui (Oui) on Mon Nov 8th, 2021 at 01:01:35 PM EST
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by Oui (Oui) on Mon Nov 8th, 2021 at 12:57:39 PM EST

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by Oui (Oui) on Mon Nov 8th, 2021 at 01:04:12 PM EST

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by Oui (Oui) on Mon Nov 8th, 2021 at 09:42:55 PM EST

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by Oui (Oui) on Mon Nov 8th, 2021 at 09:43:30 PM EST
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by Oui (Oui) on Mon Nov 8th, 2021 at 09:44:28 PM EST

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by Oui (Oui) on Tue Nov 9th, 2021 at 12:36:53 PM EST
Biometrics planned for AnyVision JV's first drones for military use

Israeli defense contractor Rafael Advanced Defense Systems has announced its first use case which incorporates AnyVision`s technology, through the joint company they set up together named SightX, in which Rafael owns 50 percent.

The joint venture was developed for military use, in order to develop defense applications with AnyVision's AI-driven computer vision as part of its business expansion plan into the industry.

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by Oui (Oui) on Tue Nov 9th, 2021 at 12:37:44 PM EST
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by Oui (Oui) on Tue Nov 9th, 2021 at 07:14:53 PM EST

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by Oui (Oui) on Wed Nov 10th, 2021 at 09:12:29 PM EST
Israeli Ambassador Tzipi Hotovely rushed out of event at LSE as protesters swarm her car

Several senior members of the British Jewish community hit out at her appointment as Ambassador including Labour peer Lord Beecham, who stated: "The appointment of an ultra-right-wing ambassador, while typical of the present government of Israel, will do nothing to win friends in the UK - or indeed any other reasonable country."

At her first event as an ambassador with the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Hotovely described the Nakba - the displacement and ongoing persecution of Palestinians - as an "Arab lie".

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by Oui (Oui) on Wed Nov 10th, 2021 at 09:15:30 PM EST
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by Oui (Oui) on Wed Nov 10th, 2021 at 09:17:22 PM EST
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by Oui (Oui) on Wed Nov 10th, 2021 at 09:21:17 PM EST
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Jewish Conservative youth group protests Hotovely with 'Occupation' event | JPost - Apr. 21, 2021 |

The UK Conservative Movement (Masorti) invited Israeli Ambassador to London Tzipi Hotovely to speak. Noam, an independent Masorti UK-based youth movement, will host its own protest event in response, "The Occupation: What is it and what is our role as British Jews?" on Wednesday.

"Throughout her career, Hotovely has made many racist and inflammatory statements," the movement wrote in a Facebook post, explaining its reasoning for protesting the event and hosting a counter one instead.

The movement claims that she "has consistently refused to recognise Palestinian heritage, referring to the Palestinians as `thieves of history', going on to say that their "history books are empty, and [they] are trying to co-opt Jewish history and Islamicize it".

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by Oui (Oui) on Wed Nov 10th, 2021 at 09:22:36 PM EST
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New NSO CEO steps aside, crisis surrounding Israeli cyber firm continues | JPost |

Former Partner CEO Itzik Benbenisti on Thursday dropped out of becoming NSO Group's CEO, a position in which he would have replaced founding CEO Shalev Hulio.

A source close to NSO said that Hulio would remain CEO to help stabilize the company during this uncertain time; there has been no announcement yet that Benbenisti, who already is a senior official in NSO's business division, was resigning.

The US State Department said the companies trafficked in cyber tools used to gain unauthorized access to computer networks, though it later added that it will not sanction NSO in any way, despite it being on the blacklist, and will not take any actions against any of the companies' host-governments.

The addition of the companies to the list for engaging in activities contrary to US national security or foreign policy interests means that exports to them from US counterparts are restricted. For instance, it makes it far harder for US security researchers to sell them information about computer vulnerabilities.

NSO would-be CEO steps down just two weeks after joining embattled company | CTech |

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by Oui (Oui) on Thu Nov 11th, 2021 at 02:11:28 PM EST

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by Oui (Oui) on Thu Nov 11th, 2021 at 10:53:23 PM EST

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by Oui (Oui) on Thu Nov 11th, 2021 at 10:55:19 PM EST
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by Oui (Oui) on Fri Nov 12th, 2021 at 10:09:30 AM EST

Elbit Systems unit wins $100m Royal Navy Electronic Warfare contract

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by Oui (Oui) on Fri Nov 12th, 2021 at 10:10:49 AM EST

Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace | France Diplomacy - Nov. 2018 |

White House ransomware summit calls for virtual asset crackdown, without mentioning cryptocurrency

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by Oui (Oui) on Fri Nov 12th, 2021 at 04:06:37 PM EST

A report by Montreal-based researchers from Slovakian company Eset, an internet security firm, found links between attacks against high-profile websites in the Middle East and UK, and the Israeli company Candiru, which has been called Israel's "most mysterious cyberwarfare company".

The Eset report revealed new information about so-called "watering hole attacks". In such attacks, spyware users launch malware against ordinary websites that are known to attract readers or users who are considered "targets of interest" by the user of the malware.

The researchers found that the websites that were "known targets" of this kind of attack included Middle East Eye, a London-based news website, and multiple websites associated with government ministries in Iran and Yemen.

Candiru did not respond to the Guardian's request for comment.

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by Oui (Oui) on Tue Nov 16th, 2021 at 11:19:03 PM EST

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by Oui (Oui) on Thu Nov 18th, 2021 at 07:06:34 PM EST
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Before the 2004 presidential elections and as PM Ariel Sharon removed the illegal settlements from Palestinian Gaza territory in order to establish a Soviet Gulag, President George Bush promised the Palestinian people independence by the end of 2005. Undoubtedly George heard the tall tales from George Sr. and Secr. of State James Baker III how to win over the minds of Israeli leadership. Of course George II failed. However, the Obama administration did more poorly as successive Israeli leaders toughened their stance as the Israel lobbyists in Washington DC picked up steam.

To describe blacklisting one of the most invasive hacking tools build by Israeli Unit 8200 veterans in the NSO Group as a "shot across Israel's bow" is quite pathetic. It's more like Naval flag signaling a message from a mine sweeper than a fully armed frigate.

Shin Bet Hacks Palestinian NGO Workers' Phones Using Pegasus Spyware

Apparently, the hack was part of this campaign to criminalize the advocacy efforts of the Palestinian NGOs.  It sought compromising information which would buttress the government's claim that they are affiliates of the banned Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and funnel donations to fund its terror activities.

Recent reports published by The Intercept and 972 Magazine indicated that a dossier compiled by Israeli intelligence and circulated to the Biden administration in an attempt to justify the terror designation, did not contain any specific evidence to support these charges.  Apparently knowing this, the Israelis sought to uncover further information from the hacked staff members telephone communications, which might compromise them and their employers.  The effort seems to have failed as none of the material in the reports appears to come from the compromised phones.

Ronen Bergman just published a Ynet report on the incident which reveals critical hitherto unknown details about both the Pegasus hack and Israel's response to the US blacklisting of NSO. Commerce Department decision is part of a campaign by the Biden administration to signal its overall disapproval of Israeli government policy toward the Palestinians.  The US intended this to be a shot across Israel's bow.

Biden administration issues harshest critique yet on Israeli settlement building | TOI - Oct. 26, 2021 |

A Biden slap on the wrist? Israeli politicians consider it a badge of honor and a prerequisite to survive the next election. A show of courage and an invitation to war hawks and Republicans in general to visit beautiful Jerusalem and the Sea of Galilee. StandByIsrael.

As I searched EuroTrib, I came across this excellent diary ...

A History of War: Israel, Syria and the Golan Heights | by Gjermund E Jansen on Jan 30th, 2007 |

The NeoCon forces were stronger to fight wars instead of making peace.

Report: Netanyahu agreed to full Golan Heights withdrawal | Ynet News - Dec. 2012 |

By 1989, Israel was imprisoning some 1,000 persons out of every 100,000 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, making the region the most heavily imprisoned society in the world (among countries assembling such data).

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by Oui (Oui) on Thu Nov 18th, 2021 at 01:00:18 PM EST

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by Oui (Oui) on Sun Nov 21st, 2021 at 11:36:41 AM EST
Moody's downgrades firm's credit grading to poor amid trade restrictions and expected cash flow problems

Israeli spyware firm NSO 'at risk of defaulting' after U.S. blacklisting | TOI |

Israel to lobby against US sanctions on NSO citing national security: Report | MEE |

Apple sues Israeli spyware firm NSO Group for surveillance of users | The Guardian |

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by Oui (Oui) on Thu Nov 25th, 2021 at 07:44:39 AM EST
A pivotal year 2014 where the Dutch can hold up human rights, a nation where the Carnegie Peace Institute, International Court of Justice, and the International Criminal Court (ICC) is hosted. Upholding Universal Human Rights ...

An excellent lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld is pleading the case in the Appeals Court.

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by Oui (Oui) on Wed Dec 8th, 2021 at 06:45:58 AM EST

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by Oui (Oui) on Tue Dec 14th, 2021 at 09:18:35 AM EST

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