New CEO of Israeli Spyware Comany NSO Resigns Over US Blacklist of Company
The man poised to take the helm of embattled Israeli cyberattack firm NSO Group has dropped out, and is leaving the company, Israeli media is reporting. Isaac Benbenisti, an NSO Group co-president and former CEO of Partner Communications, was named the company’s new CEO two weeks ago but had not yet assumed the position. He cited the decision by the US Commerce Department announced last week to blacklist the company as the reason for his resignation, according to reports. Founding CEO Shalev Hulio will remain in the position for the time being, the Jerusalem Post reported, citing a source close to the company. NSO did not respond to reports of the resignation. The NSO Group was added to a list of companies that the US Department of Commerce says operate against US national security interests and its foreign policy interests. Earlier this week, reports emerged that the company’s Pegasus surveillance spyware was discovered on the cellphones of six Palestinian human rights activists. Three of the activists are affiliated with Palestinian humanitarian organizations that were recently designated as terrorist organizations by Israel’s defense minister. NSO is accused of selling Pegasus to governments who used it to spy on human rights activists, politicians and journalists.