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Israel bans multiple countries from buying its cyber software

The change is likely a result of the fallout from Israeli company NSO Group allowing authoritarian regimes to use its Pegasus spyware.

The Israeli Ministry of Defense reduced the number of countries that Israeli companies can export cyber tools to from 102 to 37, Calcalist, a local business paper, reports.

The updated list of countries Israeli companies can sell cyber tools to includes western European countries, the US, and Canada.
The change comes after the US sanctioned NSO Group for ’malicious cyber activities.’ According to the US Department of Commerce, NSO Group ‘developed and supplied spyware to foreign governments.’

This July, the Pegasus Project revealed that the spyware, made and licensed by NSO Group, had been used in hacks of smartphones belonging to journalists, government officials, and human rights activists.

The spyware acts through iPhone and Android mobile devices and lets it access messages, emails, photos, or even secretly record calls and activate microphones.

Apple filed a lawsuit against NSO Group and its parent company OSY Technologies for allegedly targeting US Apple users with its Pegasus spyware.

The updated list will not include countries like Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, or the United Arab Emirates. Researchers believe all of those countries have used Israeli-made tools to carry out cyber operations.

According to Calcalist, the ban on cyber exports will impact the Israeli cybersecurity sector, generating $10 billion in yearly revenue. It’s estimated that 10% of all cyber sales consist of offensive cyber tools, like Pegasus software.

The updated list includes Austria, Italy, Iceland, Ireland, Estonia, Bulgaria, Belgium, the UK, Germany, Denmark, The Netherlands, Greece, Luxembourg, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Malta, Norway, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Portugal, Finland, Czech Republic, France, Croatia, Cyprus, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, Australia, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, United States, and Canada.

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