US officially blacklists NSO Group and Positive Technologies

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The US Commerce Department has added the names of four more companies to its notorious "entity list", most notably Israel’s NSO Group, and Russia’s Positive Technologies (PT), alleging that they act against US National security or foreign policy interests.

Reuters explains the blacklist restricts the engagement between US-based companies and the companies in the list. Specifically, the move will make it harder for US cybersecurity researchers to divulge information about computer vulnerabilities with the companies in the blacklist.

PT’s addition to the Commerce blacklist comes after the US Department of the Treasury imposed sanctions on several Russian technology firms, including PT, back in April 2021. 

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The sanctioned Russian organizations were accused of helping Russian state actors conduct cyberattacks against the West, specifically the SolarWinds campaign, something which PT had vehemently denied.

Walk the talk

An NSO spokesperson told Reuters that the company was "dismayed" by the decision since its technologies "support US national security interests and policies by preventing terrorism and crime,” as it shared plans to lobby for the decision to be reversed.

NSO plans to present information regarding its "rigorous" compliance and human rights programs, which it claims has “already resulted in multiple terminations of contacts with government agencies that misused our products," the NSO spokesperson said in a statement to Reuters.

While lauding the effort by the US government to curb the use of spying tools against the good guys, Bill Lawrence, CISO, at cybersecurity vendor SecurityGate, told TechRadar Pro that the country needs to do some introspection and stop “continually trying to get “back doors” installed in its own citizens’ electronics.” 

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Mayank Sharma

With almost two decades of writing and reporting on Linux, Mayank Sharma would like everyone to think he’s TechRadar Pro’s expert on the topic. Of course, he’s just as interested in other computing topics, particularly cybersecurity, cloud, containers, and coding.