NSO Group plans to fight the trade ban, saying it’s “dismayed” and clinging to the mantra that its tools actually help to prevent terrorism and crime.
NSO Group – the Israeli-based maker of the notorious, military-grade Pegasus spyware that’s been linked to cyberattacks against dissidents, activists and NGOs (and murders of journalists) at the hands of repressive regimes – has been blacklisted by the United States.
NSO Group is one of four spyware developers or traffickers that the U.S. Commerce Department added to its “Entity List” on Wednesday, effectively banning trade with the company. The list is used to restrict those deemed to pose a risk to the country’s national security or foreign policy.
Also added was fellow Israeli company Candiru – aka Sourgum, Grindavik, Saito Tech or Taveta – which allegedly sells the DevilsTongue surveillance malware to governments around the world and which was founded by engineers who left NSO.
The State Department said that both NSO Group and Candiru were added because they “developed and supplied spyware to foreign governments that used this tool to maliciously target government officials, journalists, businesspeople, activists, academics and embassy workers.”
The third entity added