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Israel cuts off list of countries that can buy cyber technology

Israel cuts off list of countries that can buy cyber technology

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The Israeli financial newspaper reported on Thursday that Israel has reduced the list of countries eligible to buy its electronic technology over concerns about possible foreign misuse of a hacking tool sold by the Israeli company NSO Group.

The newspaper, which did not reveal its sources, said that Mexico, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and the UAE were among the countries that will now be banned from importing Israeli electronic technology. The list of countries allowed to buy it has been reduced from 102 to just 37.

The Israeli Ministry of Defense, in response to the report, said in a statement that it takes “appropriate action” when it violates the terms of use stipulated in the export licenses it issues, but it failed to confirm the revocation of the licenses.

Israel has been under pressure to curb the export of spyware since July, when a group of international news agencies reported that the NSO Pegasus tool had been used to hack the phones of journalists, government officials and human rights militants in several countries.

These reports prompted Israel to review the Internet export policy run by the Defense Ministry.

Morocco and the United Arab Emirates, which normalized ties with Israel last year, as well as Saudi Arabia and Mexico were among the countries where Pegasus has been linked to political surveillance, according to Amnesty International and Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto. observational studies.

NSO has denied any wrongdoing, saying it only sells its tools to governments and law enforcement agencies and has safeguards in place to prevent abuse.

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Earlier this month, US officials placed NSO on a commercial blacklist https://www.reuters.com/technology/us-blacklists-four-companies-israel-russia-singapore-citing-spyware-2021-11-03 To sell spyware to governments that misused it. The company said it was appalled by the move because its technologies “support the national security interests and policies of the United States by preventing terrorism and crime.”

NSO has also been hit with lawsuits and criticism from major tech companies accusing it of exposing their customers to hacking. Apple Inc was the last to sue NSO https://www.reuters.com/technology/apple-files-lawsuit-against-nso-group-2021-11-23 this week.

(By Dan Williams, Edited by Jeffrey Heller)