The US Commerce Department has sanctioned four cybersecurity companies for allegedly selling spyware and other hacking tools to repressive foreign governments.
The department’s Bureau of Industry and Security added Israeli companies NSO Group and Candiru as well as Russia-based Positive Technologies and Singapore-based Computer Security Initiative Consultancy (COSEINC) to the Entity List “for engaging in activities that are contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States.”
The US said NSO Group and Candiru were added to the list because officials had found “evidence that these entities developed and supplied spyware to foreign governments that used these tools to maliciously target government officials, journalists, businesspeople, activists, academics, and embassy workers.”
The Commerce Department noted that the governments given these tools repressed a number of people in other countries beyond their borders, explaining that some authoritarian governments target “dissidents, journalists and activists outside of their sovereign borders to silence dissent.”
Positive Technologies and Computer Security Initiative Consultancy are accused of trafficking “in cyber tools used to gain unauthorized access to information systems, threatening the privacy and security of individuals and organizations worldwide.”
“The United States is committed to aggressively using export controls to hold companies accountable that develop, traffic, or use technologies