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Israel trims list of nations it will export spyware to; India is on the list of 37 nations

The Israeli government has banned the export of surveillance and offensive hacking tools to 65 countries.

Israel trims list of nations it will export spyware to; India is on the list of 37 nations
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New Delhi, First Published Nov 25, 2021, 7:40 PM IST
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A week after Israeli and French officials had a secret meeting over the alleged misuse of spyware software in several countries, the Israeli government has banned the export of surveillance and offensive hacking tools to 65 countries. Earlier, the cyber software was being exported to 102 countries. Now, it has been reduced to 37. 

Israeli business newspaper Calcalist said that the list finds mention of countries with proven democracies. India, the United States and the United Kingdom are among the countries that find their name in the list. 

Also Read: Do you know how much it costs to infiltrate and deploy Pegasus on a phone?

According to reports, the Israeli government removed the names of autocratic regimes from the list. The development comes after the NSO Group was named for alleged human rights violations in several countries. There were allegations that the software was used to spy on journalists, activists, dissidents and political opposition leaders. 

As per the Israeli media, the government has not issued any official list, but it has reduced the number of countries where these cyber tools were being exported. Recently, the US had sanctioned four surveillance devices vendors, including the NSO Group. A report by the Atlantic Council published earlier this month put the number of companies selling surveillance and hacking tools at around 224, with 27 based in Israel.

Also Read: Pegasus Spyware: What is a zero-click attack & how to evade it?

Just a couple of days ago, iPhone-maker Apple had sued Israeli firm NSO Group over the use of its spyware Pegasus to target its devices. The lawsuit seeks to hold NSO Group accountable for the surveillance and targeting. Besides, it also seeks a permanent injunction barring NSO Group from using any Apple software or devices.

The firm accused the NSO Group and its 'vetted clients' of devoting immense resources and capabilities to carry out highly-targeted cyberattacks, which allow them to access the microphone, camera, and other sensitive data on an individual's smartphones. Apple said that Pegasus spyware was installed on the target's device using a malicious code called FORCEDENTRY.

Also Read: How does the Pegasus spyware work?

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