US Lowers The Boom On The NSO Group

I for one am doing cartwheels about this as it is beyond time that the NSO Group was held accountable for it’s behaviour. This company that makes spyware and sells it to very questionable countries has been put on a US blacklist:

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.

And:

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.

That’s going to hurt. Here’s why:

In effect, it means that NSO will be barred from buying parts and components from US companies without a special licence. It also puts a cloud over the sale of the company’s software globally, including in the US.

The commerce department said that “investigative information” had shown NSO and another Israeli surveillance company called Candiru had developed and supplied spyware to foreign governments that used this tool to “maliciously target government officials, journalists, businesspeople, activists, academics, and embassy workers”.

That could be the kill shot for this company. Though they did put on a brave face:

An NSO spokesperson said: “NSO Group is dismayed by the decision given that our technologies support US national security interests and policies by preventing terrorism and crime, and thus we will advocate for this decision to be reversed.

“We look forward to presenting the full information regarding how we have the world’s most rigorous compliance and human rights programs that are based on the American values we deeply share, which already resulted in multiple terminations of contacts with government agencies that misused our products.”

Here’s my concern. If this is the kill shot for this company, what happens to the tech that they have developed? It would be very scary for all of us if that made it out into the wild. Hopefully that doesn’t happen. And the only thing that does happen is that this company ceases to exist.

One Response to “US Lowers The Boom On The NSO Group”

  1. […] isn’t thrilled with all the recent shots taken at The NSO Group from everyone from the US Government to Apple. I say that because the news is out that they are going to drop the list of countries that […]

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