NSO group’s Pegasus spyware investigated
What are the latest legal, national security, and geopolitical activities directly targeting the NSO Group?
Since the Pegasus spyware scandal last year, there have been many developments related to spyware, including legal, national security, and geopolitical activities directly targeting the NSO Group.
In late July 2021, Israeli authorities "opened an investigation into the Israeli company and officials from multiple different agencies within the Israeli government visited NSO Group's offices as part of the new investigation – amid claims that the firm is selling its powerful spyware to threat actors who then commit targeted attacks."
Read next: Pegasus' nemesis: Meet QuaDream, another Israeli spyware company
According to media reports, Israeli agents visited the NSO Group’s offices located near the city of "Tel Aviv.”
The next week, Amnesty International called for a halt to the use of monitoring technology “used against a long list of journalists, activists, and heads of state… its usage has exposed a global human rights crisis, according to Amnesty. The NGO is now warning against the devastating impact of the poorly regulated spyware industry on human rights and urging for a moratorium on the sale and use of Pegasus and similar tech.”
NSO Group under investigation
The WSJ reported in December 2021 that the NSO Group was considering selling and closing its Pegasus unit in response to the company's inclusion on the US Commerce Department's "Entity List" in November, “becoming the fourth spyware developer to join the list. The list is used to restrict companies thought to pose a risk to the US’s national security or foreign policy.”
Over the last five to six months, coverage of the spyware and the NSO Group has gone from the specialized, independent reportage represented by the Pegasus Project to major investigative resources dedicated to the story by the likes of the New Yorker and the New York Times.
Pegasus Project, a global media consortium led by Forbidden Stories, a Paris-based media non-profit, with technical assistance from Amnesty's Security Lab, conducts forensic tests on mobile phones to detect signs of the Israeli Pegasus spyware.
Last year, the United States placed "Israel's" spyware maker NSO Group, the corporation behind the notorious Pegasus, on its list of restricted companies.
Pegasus can infect a mobile phone and give the spyware user full access to phone calls, text messages, encrypted messaging, and images if it is successfully installed against a victim. It can trace a user's location on their phone and turn it into a remote listening device.