The US Chamber of Commerce today (Wednesday) added two Israeli offensive cyber companies – NSO and Kandiro – to the list of companies operating in violation of the interests of American national security and its interests abroad. Alongside them, the Russian company Positive and the Singaporean CSIC were also added.
According to bureau statements, “NSO and Candiro were added to the list based on evidence that they engaged in the development and supply of spyware to foreign governments who misused officials, journalists, businessmen, political activists, academics and embassy staff. These tools allowed governments to manage “International oppression, a practice that characterizes tyrannical regimes that persecute dissidents, journalists and activists outside their borders in order to silence them. Such practices threaten a world order based on clear rules.”
“This activity is part of the Biden-Harris administration’s effort to put human rights at the center of American foreign policy, and to stop the distribution of digital tools used in repression. “It is the result of a special order issued by the Department of National Trade regarding the export or transfer of assets in the field of offensive cyber activity.”
“The Russian company Positive and the CSIC of Singapore have been added to the list based on their trading in hacking tools designed to gain unauthorized access to databases, thereby threatening the privacy and security of individuals and organizations around the world,” the statement said.
Just a few days ago, NSO announced that it was making a change at the top of its board: founder Shalio Julio replaced Itzik Benvenisti, former CEO of Partner, and that it would invest capital in developing defensive cyber technology beyond the traditional field in which it operates, “collection” cyber, according to the company. .
NSO has become a pioneer in the offensive cyber market and a prominent company in the field thanks to its Trojan horse software, Pegasus, which allows governments and security authorities to connect to any mobile phone and receive a live and real-time picture of everything happening on it – including activating a camera, microphone and reading messages. An investigation by Amnesty International and Forbidden Stories has drawn sharp public criticism that the systems it has provided to governments in the UAE, Hungary, India and Mexico have been used by their heads to track regime dissidents and journalists, without its knowledge.
Like NSO, Candiru has become famous for research by Citizens Labs and Microsoft on its Trojan horse software for Windows-based PCs, but also works on smartphones. According to Citizen Labs, its spyware not only knows how to retrieve files, use the camera and track actions on the PC, but also run apps and send messages to others. According to a lawsuit filed by a former sales manager at the company, it has sold its systems to customers in the CIS countries, the Persian Gulf and Latin America.
Unlike the NSO which maintains a high media profile, Candiro operates completely under the radar, with almost no fingerprint. It does not have an online site or company pages on the LinkedIn network, and it changes its name frequently: in the past it was called Tabata, and today its official name is Saito Tech Ltd.
NSO said: “The decision shocked the company – after all, our technology supports the security interests of the United States and its policy against terrorism and crime. Therefore, we will work to overturn the decision. We look forward to presenting the strict code of values and rules that we operate in light of. We share human rights values with the United States, and in evidence we have canceled contracts with governments and authorities who have misused our products. ”