Pegasus Saga: Israeli Defense Ministry Raids NSO Office

TEL AVIV: Israeli Defense Ministry and other investigation agencies have raided the office of NSO Group which had sold its Pegasus software to several world governments for the purpose of iPhone hacking.

Local media reports quoted Israeli Defense Ministry announcing that officials from multiple Israeli government agencies have raided today the offices of surveillance software vendor NSO Group, days after international journalists revealed that NSO Group had sold access to its software —the Pegasus platform— to oppressive governments across the world, which abused it to spy on journalists, human rights activists, and political rivals.

The interesting part of the episode is that the NSO Group holds a license from the Israeli government for export of offensive security software, such as hacking tools or surveillance software. Reports suggested that the raids conducted were actually an eye-wash, more of a formal meeting than an in-depth audit of NSO’s documents and computer systems.

It may be recalled that the Israeli company NSO group was taken to court in 2019, when several human rights activist groups filed a lawsuit to force the Israeli government to revoke NSO’s export license, citing cases where the software was used for human rights abuses outside of typical law enforcement investigations. The court had surprisingly rejected the case.

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