Pegasus spyware maker NSO added to Entity List as national security threat

What you need to know

  • NSO has been added to the US Entity List over national security concerns.
  • NSO is the creator of a prolific spyware app called Pegasus that's been used against journalists, governments, and more.

NSO is one of four companies across three countries that have been added to the list.

NSO, the company behind the Pegasus spyware, has been added to the US Entity List over national security concerns. The Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) added NSO to the list along with three other companies.

By adding a company to the Entity List, the government is making it impossible for its products to be imported into the United States. They also can't be exported or passed from one organization to another.

The addition of NSO was first spotted by 9to5Mac, with countries in Russia and Singapore joining it.

The Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has released a final rule adding four foreign companies to the Entity List for engaging in activities that are contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States. The four entities are located in Israel, Russia, and Singapore.

NSO Group and Candiru (Israel) were added to the Entity List based on evidence that these entities developed and supplied spyware to foreign governments that used these tools to maliciously target government officials, journalists, businesspeople, activists, academics, and embassy workers. These tools have also enabled foreign governments to conduct transnational repression, which is the practice of authoritarian governments targeting dissidents, journalists and activists outside of their sovereign borders to silence dissent.

While most people are highly unlikely to need to be concerned about Pegasus, those in positions of power or even just reporting on it could potentially be targeted. Journalists and activists have reportedly been targeted by Pegasus over the last few months alone.

Apple often touts its security as one of the best iPhone features when compared to Android, but Pegasus continues to find ways to be effective.