Due to the scandal surrounding the NSO Group, the list of countries to which companies are allowed to sell their technologies has been reduced to 37.
The Israeli Defense Ministry has sharply reduced the list of countries to which Israeli companies are allowed to sell their cyber technologies. The reason was the scandal surrounding the Israeli manufacturer of commercial spyware NSO Group.
According to the Calcalist news outlet, if 102 countries were previously included in the list, now it has been reduced to 37. In particular, new allies of Israel, Morocco and the UAE, in which cases of human rights violations are known, were excluded from it.
In addition, Israeli companies are now prohibited from selling their cyber technologies to Saudi Arabia and Mexico. The Saudi government is accused of using the Pegasus spyware developed by the NSO Group to spy on Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018. The Mexican government has also used Pegasus to spy on journalists and activists.
Nevertheless, India, which has also been caught abusing NSO technologies to spy on journalists, political oppositionists and activists, remains on the list.
The new rules will have a huge impact on the Israeli cyber technology industry.
The NSO Group has faced a torrent of international criticism over allegations that it helps governments spy on opponents of the political regime and human rights defenders. However, according to the company itself, its product is intended exclusively to help countries in the fight against crime and terrorism.
A few weeks ago, the US Department of Commerce blacklisted NSO Group, restricting its ties with American companies.
This week, Apple sued the NSO Group for attacks on iPhone users. Among other things, the company demanded compensation from NSO Group for losses related to the resources spent on responding to the alleged abuse of spyware by the manufacturer of its products. Apple will donate all the compensation received to organizations that expose such spyware.
Apple is already the second major American company to sue the NSO Group. In 2019, she was also sued by Facebook (now Meta) for hacking WhatsApp. Earlier this month, an appeals court in the United States rejected NSO Group’s appeal.
This week, the credit ratings agency Moody published indicators, judging by which, NSO Group risks being on the verge of default on debt in the amount of about $ 500 million against the background of upcoming problems with cash flows after being blacklisted by the US Department of Commerce.