Pegasus Spyware Maker NSO Blacklisted by US Following Surveillance Scandal

US officials on Wednesday blacklisted the Israeli maker of Pegasus spyware on a list of banned companies aimed at software Central as a scam over surveillance of journalists and officials.

company, NSO, was mired in controversy over reports that thousands of human rights activists, journalists, politicians and business executives around the world were listed as its potential targets. Pegasus Software.

Pegasus-infected smartphones are essentially turned into pocket spying devices, allowing users to read targets’ messages, view their photos, track their location, and more without even knowing them. You can turn on your camera.

The US Commerce Department said in a statement, “These tools … have enabled foreign governments to conduct international repression, the practice of authoritarian governments targeting dissidents, journalists and activists outside their sovereign borders.” “

Washington also targeted the Israeli company Candiru, as well as Singapore-based Computer Security Initiative consultancy PTE (COSEINC) and Russian firm Positive Technologies were charged with smuggling hacking tools.

The addition of companies to the so-called “entity list” means that exports to them from US organizations are prohibited. For example, it is now far more difficult for US researchers to sell information or technology to them.

NSO hit back at the decision, saying its “technologies support US national security interests and policies by preventing terrorism and crime.”

“We would advocate for a reversal of this decision,” an NSO spokesman told AFP. Adding to its compliance controls is “the number of times it has ended contact with government agencies abusing our products.”

Critics of the ‘zero-click’ attack say that the widespread availability of software such as Pegasus now allows even cash-strapped authoritarian governments with highly aggressive surveillance powers to effectively buy their own answers for the United States National Security Agency. allows.

“NSO Group’s spyware is a tool of suppression that has been used to commit human rights violations around the world,” Amnesty Tech deputy director Danna Ingleton said in a statement.

“This dangerous industry is out of control, and it’s the impunity spyware companies should still enjoy,” Ingleton said.

A major problem is that it is left to the companies supplying spyware to decide what is a fair use of their technology and whether buyers can be trusted to respect restrictions.

“It’s very clear that most governments ignore those barriers and do what they believe is in their own interest,” said Oliver Tavakoli, chief technology officer at cybersecurity company Vectra.

UN experts have called for an international moratorium on the sale of surveillance technology until regulations are put in place to protect human rights in the aftermath of the Pegasus scandal.

After the initial concern over Pegasus, a subsequent wave of concern emerged when iPhone the creator Apple In September it released a fix for vulnerabilities that could allow spyware to infect devices without even clicking on malicious messages or links.

The so-called “zero-click” is capable of silently corrupting the targeted device, and was identified by researchers at Citizen Lab, a cybersecurity monitoring organization in Canada.