The United States blacklists the Israeli NSO Group for the use and sale of spyware

The United States Department of Commerce he has blacklisted Israeli company NSO Group, as well as another called Candiru, accusing them according to CNN of offering spyware systems to foreign governments that have used these tools to spy on journalists, embassy workers, organizations and dissidents, politicians (even heads of state) and activists. Also to traffic «with cyber tools used to gain unauthorized access to information systems«.

As a result of this measure, companies will not be able to purchase software items from US vendors and manufacturers without a special license. The measure, one of the most powerful taken so far by the Biden Administration to end the sale of hacking tools that, according to several analysts, may have been used to act against human rights in various parts of the world.

NSO Group made headlines a few months ago when it became public last July that it was the creator of Pegasus. According to Muycomputer it is a spy tool kit and it has been used to spy on the aforementioned sectors. Its creators sold it to various countries, and its use has also been recorded in Spain, as it was installed on Roger Torrent and Ernest Maragall’s mobile phones. Its activities, despite having been reported in the media relatively recently, have been the subject of complaints for years, since Amnesty International began to do so in 2018. Amazon also closed the company’s accounts a few months ago for its activities.

Both cybersecurity analysts and activists fighting for human rights had long accused NSO Group of selling hacking software for mobile very easy to handle to governments that are dedicated to exercising repression over their citizens, or interested in knowing data on certain groups or activists who are not of their cord.

From NSO Group they have been quick to regret the decision, «as our technologies support America’s national security interests and policies by preventing terrorism and crime, and that is why we will advocate for a reversal of the decision. We hope to present all the information that we have the most rigorous human rights and compliance programs in the world, that are based on American values ​​that we deeply share, and that have resulted in many breaches of contracts with government agencies that have done a wrong use of our products«.

But the United States government has stated that “These companies are in fact acting to violate not only universal human rights, but also American national security. That the United States blacklists them implies that other democratic powers will have to respond in a similar way, something we encourage them to do.«.

In addition to these two Israeli companies, the Biden Administration has also blacklisted two other companies: the Russian Positive Technologies and the Singapore company Initiative Consultancy, whom he has accused of trafficking «with cyber tools used to gain unauthorized access to information systems«.

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