The Biden administration on Wednesday blacklisted NSO Group, an Israeli cyber-surveillance company, claiming the company had supplied spyware used by foreign governments to “maliciously target” government officials, businessmen. , academics and journalists.
The company makes a sophisticated surveillance system known as the Pegasus, which has come under scrutiny for years for its ability to stealthily extract sound recordings, photos, contacts, text messages and other information from targeted smartphones. In July, a media consortium reported that the application had been widely used to hack smartphones belonging to journalists from India, Morocco, France and elsewhere.
NSO said in an emailed statement it was “appalled by the decision.”
“Our technologies support the national security interests and policies of the United States by preventing terrorism and crime, and we will therefore advocate that this decision be overturned,” the company said.
NSO and three other companies have been added to the so-called entity list, which prevents foreign companies from purchasing certain types of sensitive U.S. technology without a license, the Department of Industry and Security’s Bureau of Industry said. Trade in a press release.
Candiru, an Israeli company, was sanctioned based on evidence that it developed and supplied spyware to foreign governments, the Commerce Department said. Positive Technologies of Russia and Singapore’s Computer Security Initiative Consultancy have been added to the list for trafficking cyber tools that help hackers gain unauthorized access to information systems, according to the announcement.
“The United States is committed to aggressively using export controls to hold accountable companies that develop, commercialize or use technology to carry out malicious activities that threaten the cybersecurity of members of civil society, dissidents, government officials and organizations here and abroad, ”Gina Raimondo, the commerce secretary said in a statement.