In addition to the NSO Group, punitive measures will also be imposed against another Israeli software company called Candiru, the Commerce Department in Washington announced on Wednesday. There is evidence that these companies “developed and provided spyware to foreign governments that used these tools to maliciously monitor government officials, journalists, businessmen, activists, academics and embassy personnel.”
The press release stated that a total of four companies were on the list because their activities “contradict the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States.” Positive Technologies (Russia) and the Computer Security Initiative Consulting (Singapore) trade in Internet tools “which are used to gain unauthorized access to information systems and thus threaten the privacy and security of individuals and organizations around the world”. Export restrictions apply to trade in US goods with respect to companies included in the so-called entity list.
The NSO Group made headlines around the world with its Pegasus spyware in the summer. Journalists revealed that the program – contrary to repeated assertions by developers – was abused. They were able to prove that heads of state and government, at least 180 journalists, human rights defenders, trade unionists, diplomats, and many heads of state and government were targeted.
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