Remember when the world learnt of Pegasus? The new spyware going around, that was able to get into just about any device and access pretty much all of the info it contained, without any input needed from the owner and it felt like no one’s info was safe? Yeah, that was only four months ago.
Now the US has placed sanctions on NSO Group, the company behind the spyware, that disallows any US company from selling their technology or services to the Israeli surveillance firm.
In case you missed it, The Pegasus Project brought attention to the spyware after it revealed a list of journalists, activists and heads of state from around the world connected to the spyware. The Pegasus Project analysed the phones of a few journalists and found evidence they had been infected with the spyware, presumably by a branch of the government because that’s who NSO says are the only one’s it’ll sell the spyware to.
Are you telling us Pegasus might be dangerous?!
The US Department of Commerce says in their press release that the sanctions against NSO are because it “[poses] a significant risk of being or becoming involved, in activities contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States.” Sounds like the US doesn’t believe the good intentions of the Israeli spyware maker, colour us surprised.
It’s definitely the latter here, because NSO says their Pegasus spyware can’t be used to target American phone numbers. Why the US gets special treatment is a little suspicious. NSO weren’t the only group added to the list. Another Israeli IT firm, Candiru, a Russian company and one from Singapore have also been fingered for selling hacking tools.