IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

US sanctions Israeli NSO Group for selling spyware

COSEINC and Positive Technologies were also blocked by the government

The US has banned Israeli company NSO Group, which sells the Pegasus spyware, and three other companies. 

The prohibition means US companies wishing to import or export products or services related to NSO Group must now obtain a license from the government.

The US ban could represent a severe blow for NSO Group, not only in terms of its ability to sell products to customers in the US but also by restricting its access to US technologies for the development of future ones. 

US companies can no longer have any kind of relationship with NSO since "there is a risk of becoming involved in activities that are dangerous to national security," thus leading to heavy government penalties.

The Entity List update also included Candiru, another Israeli company active in developing and selling spyware. NSO Group and Candiru were added to the Entity List based on a determination that they developed and supplied spyware to foreign governments that used this tool to maliciously target government officials, journalists, business people, activists, academics, and embassy workers, according to the State Department.

In a ruling by the US Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), the government said these tools have “enabled foreign governments to conduct transnational repression, which is the practice of authoritarian governments targeting dissidents, journalists and activists outside of their sovereign borders to silence dissent.  Such practices threaten the rules-based international order.”

Related Resource

Hybrid cloud for video surveillance

What it is and why you'll want one

Wasabi_Hybrid_Cloud_Video_Surveillance_WP_coverFree download

In addition, Positive Technologies and COSEINC were added to the Entity List based on a determination they “misuse and traffic cyber tools that are used to gain unauthorized access to information systems in ways that are contrary to the national security or foreign policy of the United States, threatening the privacy and security of individuals and organizations worldwide.”

“The United States is committed to aggressively using export controls to hold companies accountable that develop, traffic, or use technologies to conduct malicious activities that threaten the cybersecurity of members of civil society, dissidents, government officials, and organizations here and abroad,” said commerce secretary Gina Raimondo.

The announcement comes as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to put human rights at the center of US foreign policy, including by working to stem the proliferation of digital tools used for repression.

Featured Resources

Four strategies for building a hybrid workplace that works

All indications are that the future of work is hybrid, if it's not here already

Free webinar

The digital marketer’s guide to contextual insights and trends

How to use contextual intelligence to uncover new insights and inform strategies

Free Download

Ransomware and Microsoft 365 for business

What you need to know about reducing ransomware risk

Free Download

Building a modern strategy for analytics and machine learning success

Turning into business value

Free Download

Recommended

Ransomware group Conti threatens to overthrow Costa Rican government
ransomware

Ransomware group Conti threatens to overthrow Costa Rican government

17 May 2022
The Total Economic Impact™ of Apple Mac in Enterprise: M1 update
Whitepaper

The Total Economic Impact™ of Apple Mac in Enterprise: M1 update

12 May 2022
Costa Rica declares state of emergency following Conti ransomware attack
ransomware

Costa Rica declares state of emergency following Conti ransomware attack

10 May 2022
LinkedIn to pay $1.8 million to employees after settling gender discrimination charges
Careers & training

LinkedIn to pay $1.8 million to employees after settling gender discrimination charges

4 May 2022

Most Popular

Windows Server admins say latest Patch Tuesday broke authentication policies
Server & storage

Windows Server admins say latest Patch Tuesday broke authentication policies

12 May 2022
Russian hackers declare war on 10 countries after failed Eurovision DDoS attack
hacking

Russian hackers declare war on 10 countries after failed Eurovision DDoS attack

16 May 2022
IT admin deletes company’s databases and is jailed for seven years
Policy & legislation

IT admin deletes company’s databases and is jailed for seven years

16 May 2022