HomeBusinessCEO of Israeli Pegasus spyware company NSO resigns | Israel
CEO of Israeli Pegasus spyware company NSO resigns | Israel
August 22, 2022
Israel’s NSO Group, which makes the globally controversial Pegasus spyware, said on Sunday that its CEO Shalev Hulio would step down as part of a reorganization.
The indebted, privately-owned company also said it would target sales to countries belonging to the NATO alliance.
“NSO Group today announced that it will reorganize and resign CEO Shalev Hulio,” a company spokesperson said in a statement.
The company’s chief operating officer, Yaron Shohat, will now “take the lead” and lead the reorganization process, the spokesman added.
The reorganization “will examine all aspects of its business, including streamlining its operations to ensure that NSO remains one of the world’s leading hi-tech cyber intelligence companies, targeting NATO member countries,” a reference to the 30-strong political and military alliance.
Pegasus spyware is used to infiltrate mobile phones and extract data or activate cameras or microphones.
NSO Group says the software is only being sold to government agencies to target criminals and terrorists, and the sale requires approval from the Israeli government.
However, the spyware is said to have been used by foreign governments against dissidents, journalists, diplomats and clergy. Its clients included Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Hungary and India.
In November 2021, the Biden administration placed the company on a US blacklist after it found it had acted “contrary to US foreign policy and national security interests.”
The new designation — which puts NSO in the company of hackers from China and Russia — came three months after a consortium of journalists working with French non-profit organization Forbidden Stories uncovered multiple cases of journalists and activists being killed by foreign governments. were hacked with the spyware, including US citizens.
The Guardian and other members of the consortium also revealed that the mobile numbers of French president Emmanuel Macron and almost his entire cabinet were on a leaked list of individuals selected as possible targets of surveillance.