Even if NSO falls – the offensive cyber industry is here to stay

by time news

It seems that the wave of lawsuits, warnings and scandals surrounding you NSO Lately it has been increasing with time. The Citizens Labs cyber lab research series, the 60 Minutes research program, the huge research of Amnesty and Forbidden Stories and recently, the inclusion of the Israeli company on the US Department of Commerce’s blacklist – seems like an event chasing event, and these feed each other into a snowball Israeli offensive cyber forever.

Earlier this month, the Israeli Ministry of Defense also joined the picture, but it is more of a symbolic act from the language to the outside than a substantive move; For exporters of arms or offensive cyber technologies, the Ministry of Defense repealed the exemption from opening negotiations to sell cyber technologies to more than sixty countries and left just over thirty countries – all developed democracies – under the exemption. This is not to say that NSO or any of its competitors cannot sell to countries that have been removed from the exemption list. From now on, they will have to apply for a special permit to start negotiations for sale with a country from the Ministry of Defense’s Export Control Division, which is an opening for them to sell for these countries. However, there is no change in the export licenses: if the negotiations have matured into a signed deal, the offensive cyber companies need a separate export license, which is discussed by the Ministry of Defense on its own merits, as it always has been.

A competition for a planet?

NSO is currently doing everything in its power to remove it from the US Department of Commerce’s blacklist. The company works with many security organizations in the country and its blacklisting virtually disables any such work and requires it to go through a lengthy and unbearable regulatory process.

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If the company’s CEO, Shalev Julio, fails to persuade government officials to back down, then – senior cyber industry executives – the company’s management would prefer to sell the Pegasus division – over the plethora of lawsuits against it – to another cyber company, focus on defensive cyber technologies and assist governments Protect critical infrastructure from enemy states and semi-governmental entities In such a case, the company is likely to change its name and adopt a business model similar to that of American Planetar, i.e. offer government infrastructure security services using big data products, tiny aircraft, and human cyber array. On the sale of the entire company.

This is not the company, this is the idea

NSO is expected to change its skin, but the underlying idea is muscular and existing. Dozens of companies operate in a similar way around the world – and no one in the US or Apple government talks about them. The reason for this lies not only in NSO’s media prominence and the fact that it is not hidden to the tools, but also in its technology, which is considered extremely immune to upgrading cellular manufacturers’ operating systems, and the fact that no link click is required to infect the phone with its intrusive software component. If you will, NSO is the “Coca-Cola” of the offensive cyber industry. The rest are imitators.

Either way, the idea behind NSO will not die soon. Dozens of companies around the world allow various security agencies to infiltrate the digital privacy of citizens for security or other purposes. If NSO offers from the offensive cyber world, closes or sells, someone else will take the lead.

Apart from Kandiro, which was included in the American blacklist, there are also Israeli-Cypriot squads that follow in the footsteps of the NSO system in an attempt to emulate it; And a paragon of former 8200 commander Ehud Schneerson, who provides hacking tools for chat apps and is in negotiations with East Asian countries.

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The N of NSO

Israel is not alone in the battle: Offensive cyber companies that provide civilian surveillance tools have been established all over the world. Where there are intelligence units that specialize in cyber technology, there will also be private companies that sell such technologies privately.

MIT’s technology magazine only recently revealed that an American company called Accuvant, sold to the UAE hacking tools several years ago, for $ 1.3 million – without permission from the US administration; The French company Amesys, whose executives were previously accused of selling surveillance systems to Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya, changed its name to Nexa and continues to operate today with a tool that provides voice tracking of cell phones, hacking tools for communications and WiFi, and weapons. Electronic such as a skimmer drop system; Let us not forget the N of NSO, Niv Carmi, one of the founders of the Israeli company who left shortly after its establishment. He is currently the CEO of the Swiss company Polustech, which provides governments with cellular network-based collection tools for gathering intelligence from telephones, including calls, messages, data traffic and end-user manipulation.

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