New CEO-designate of Pegasus spyware maker NSO Group resigns after US sanctions

Multiple Israeli news outlets are reporting that Itzik Benbenisti, the person slated to become the new CEO of controversial spyware company NSO Group, has resigned just two weeks after accepting the role. 

The Jerusalem Post and Haaretz reported that Benbenisti decided against replacing current CEO Shalev Hulio after the US Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security added NSO Group to the Entity List “for engaging in activities that are contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States” last week. 

NSO Group did not respond to requests for comment, but it did confirm Benbenisti’s decision to Haaretz. His appointment to CEO had been announced on October 31, but he had not started the job yet. 

Sources told Haaretz that Benbenisti was spooked by the new sanctions as well as recent revelations about the company’s spyware that could lead to legal consequences.

The US Commerce Department said NSO Group and another spyware firm called 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, business people, activists, academics, and embassy workers.” 

The Commerce Department noted that the governments given these

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