September 26, 2022

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Israeli spyware: Pegasus maker chief resigns

Status: 08/21/2022 5:40 PM

NSO produces the infamous “Pegasus” spyware, which has been used to spy on politicians, journalists and activists. The founder and president of the Israeli company has now resigned.

The head of Israeli spyware company NSO, Shalev Hulio, has resigned, according to the company. Company officials also reported that 100 employees, about 13 percent of NSO employees, will be laid off. A company spokesman said Hulio would be leaving as part of a restructuring. He will be replaced by the former Director of Operational Business, Yaron Shohat, who will also lead the reorganization. The debt-laden company wants to focus on NATO member states as future clients.

Powerful Spyware Manufacturer

NSO has come under international criticism because the company produces “Pegasus” spyware. It can be used to monitor the contacts, messages and location data of the target person on their smartphone. According to NSO, this is meant to track down terrorists and criminals – but in fact journalists and activists have also been spied on in countries like Saudi Arabia, Mexico or the West Bank.

German authorities – the Federal Criminal Police Office and the Federal Intelligence Service – are also using the program, press research shows.

The United States placed NSO on a sanctions list in 2021 to make it difficult for the company to access American technology. Apple and Facebook accuse NSO of “hacking” their products and have filed a lawsuit against the company.

The company was also affected by the Israeli decision to tighten controls on software exports. This reduced the number of states in which NSO could sell its monitoring tools from 100 to 37 countries.

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