Israel’s Defense Ministry is reportedly placing new limitations on where the country’s cybersecurity firms can sell their surveillance and hacking tools, sharply narrowing its list of approved nations for such deals.
Notably absent from the new list are Israel’s new allies under last year’s Abraham Accords: the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco. On Thursday, The Jerusalem Post reported that the Defense Ministry was also exempted by cutting the approved nation list to 37. Previously it had been at 102. “behind-the-scenes ally” Saudi Arabia.
Countries that survived the purge include the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, Japan, South Korea and dozens of European nations, according to Israel’s Calcalist newspaper.
After the US Commerce Department had earlier in the month placed NSO Group, Candiru on a blacklist for providing spyware to governments to use to abet human rights. “These tools have also 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,”Washington stated. “Such practices threaten the rules-based international order.”
Apple on Tuesday announced that it’s suing NSO over its Pegasus phone-hacking spyware, which was allegedly used to infect thousands of iPhones around the world. Clients were able to hack into those phones and target activists, journalists, politicians and dissidents. It is believed that the military-grade technology will be used to prevent crime and terrorist attacks.
NSO is facing possible default on $500 million in debt amid its legal troubles and declining revenue, according to Moody’s Investors Service.
The Israeli Defense Ministry told Calcalist that it’s “constantly reassessing”Exports of cybersecurity products are not allowed. “The state of Israel only approves the export of cyber products for governmental organizations, to be used in a manner and for the purpose of preventing and investigating crime and fighting terror,”The ministry stated.
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