Israel has appointed a commission to review the allegations that Pegasus spyware has been misused to target journalists and human rights activists. The NSO Group's spyware is under fire for its customers misusing it to breach privacy.
NSO said that the company requires its foreign government clients to use Pegasus only for legitimate investigations into terrorism or crime. Ram Ben-Barak, the head of parliament's foreign affairs and defence committee – and a former deputy head of the Mossad spy agency, stated that all foreign clients of NSO are vetted governments.
Ben-Barakadded that Israel's defence establishment's new review commission is made up of a number of groups.It will assess whether the rules regarding Israel's export of cyber weapons should be tightened, reported The Guardian
We certainly have to look anew at this whole subject of licenses granted by DECA [Israel's Defence Exports Control Agency]. When they finish their review, we'll demand to see the results and assess whether we need to make corrections," he added.
DECA is in charge of overseeing NSO exports.
A collaboration of 17 international media organisations has come up with a list of victims which includes politicians, journalists, businessmen, and human rights activists. 14 heads of states were on the list of targets.
About 50,000 mobile numbers were found in the leaked database of the Pegasus project. The forensic analysis of some devices showed traces of Pegasus spyware. However, it does not mean the number was subject to an attempted or successful hack.
After the name of French President Emmanuel Macron's and his minister's mobile number appeared on the list, he convened an emergency cybersecurity meeting. German Chancellor Angela Merkel added that such a spyware should be denied to countries where there was no judicial oversight, reported The Guardian.
"There have to be restrictive conditions and such software should not be sold to countries where judicial oversight over such attacks cannot be guaranteed," added Merkel.
NSO said that the French president was not a "target" of any of its customers and denied that he was chosen using their product, and added that the leaked database has no relevance to the company.