December 9, 2021

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The NSO Group has been shortlisted by the US Department of Commerce

According to the United States, the activities of the NSO Group, the manufacturer of spyware Pegasus, pose a threat to national security. This is unclear, the US Department of Commerce has now announced.

This is the last Actually announcedOn Wednesday, November 3, the NSO Group, an Israeli company that specializes in spyware sales, was placed on the list of companies subject to strict restrictions on exports and imports.

The inclusion of the NSO in this list does not completely preclude any business transaction between the Israeli group and US companies that may provide services or technologies. But this decision places severe restrictions on transactions, forcing U.S. soldiers who wish to import or export certain types of NSO-related products to apply for a license from U.S. authorities, which is likely to be denied.

The Department of Commerce has taken similar action against Chinese electronics company Huawei and company Chinese surveillance agencies, Like Hikvision or Sensetime, you can put them on this block as well. The NSO, which responded to the announcement, said to itself “I am appalled by this decision because our technologies help US security and political interests in the fight against crime and terrorism.”, According to a company spokesman. The Israeli company announced “I will call [les autorités américaines] This decision should be reversed.

Very strong political signal

In addition to this list of sanctions, the strongest signal sent by the United States, Israel’s key ally, is first in its cyber surveillance sector. It clashes head-on with the security of the NSO group, which has always claimed that its tool was used only to combat terrorism and organized crime.

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The Terms of Commerce are final:

“These tools have helped foreign governments expand their repression beyond their borders, and authoritarian governments have targeted protesters, journalists and activists to quell any opposition. These practices threaten international order.”

Among the other three companies included in this list by the Department of Commerce is another Israeli company, Candiru, with its spyware Fitted in the summer For infecting the phones of politicians and human rights activists. Like the NSO, Tel Aviv-based Candiru markets spyware for governments and state security services. The Department of Commerce is also targeting a Russian company called Positive Technologies, which was already approved by US authorities in April. The United States suspects the company of supporting some malicious FSB activities, A Russian spy agency. Finally, the Computer Security Initiative Consultancy PDE LTD. Included in this block list.

In a press release, The Department of Commerce justifies their inclusion due to the activities of the NSO Group and three other organizations “Against national security or US diplomatic interests”. Explicitly states that “Source”, Customers of the company and its Pegasus software “Harmfully targeted officials, journalists, businessmen, activists, academics and embassy staff”.

Reference to the continued exposure of victims by NSO Group customers, in particular “Project Pegasus”. This group of seventeen teachers, including The world, In conjunction with Amnesty International, some NSO group clients – particularly Moroccan, Hungary, India and Azerbaijan – have misled spyware by using it against journalists, especially French journalists, activists, human rights activists and politicians.

Read more The article is reserved for our subscribers “Project Pegasus”: “The international community must work together to improve the quality of technology of tomorrow”

Most recently, the Citizens’ Laboratory at the University of Toronto specializes in malware analysis. Revealed on October 24th That’s the American journalist New York Times, Ben Hubbard was repeatedly targeted by Pegasus, including June 2021, despite reporting to the NSO about a previous infection of his cell phone with this spyware.

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The effects of the “Pegasus Project” are growing

The effects of the “Pegasus Project” investigation have multiplied in recent weeks. On October 27, the Supreme Court of India Ordered an independent inquiry Revealed as part of a “Pegasus plan” to shed light on the use of spyware by the country’s authorities.

Expression by The world An infection in Emmanuel Macron’s cell phone has disrupted relations between Paris and Tel Aviv. In October, Iyal Hulada, Defense Adviser to the Prime Minister of Israel, Wisely went to Paris To discuss the situation with Emmanuel Bonn, Consular Adviser to the President of France. “We ask for guarantees on NSO issues and work with the Israelis.”, Then commented on Elyse. The President of France and the Prime Minister of Israel raised this issue on the one hand COP26, in Glasgow. “Both leaders agreed that this issue should continue to be pursued prudently, professionally and in the interests of transparency between the parties.”, Israeli diplomatic source told Agency France-Presse.

Read more “Project Pegasus”: These questions were not answered by Elysee

In early October, an English court Had confirmed Princess Haya Bint al-Hussein, the sixth wife of the Emir of Dubai, was spied on by Pegasus by Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, which confirms the information of the seventeen authors of the “Pegasus Project”.

Pegasus, developed by the Israeli company NSO Group, is a very powerful spyware capable of infecting a phone remotely and without the knowledge of its owner. Once installed, the software can download messaging history, access the device’s geolocation, spy on real-time calls, or remotely trigger the phone’s microphone.

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