The CEO of NSO Group, creator of the Pegasus spyware, has reportedly stepped down, effective immediately, the company confirmed on Sunday.
CEO Shalev Hulio, one of the founders of the Israeli technology company, will hand over responsibilities to Chief Operating Officer Yaron Shohat as part of an organizational restructuring.
“NSO Group today announced that it is restructuring the company and CEO Shalev Hulio is stepping down,” a company spokesperson said. statement to The Guardian without elaborating on exactly why Hulio is stepping down.
The reorganization will “focus on NTO member states and consider all aspects of its business, including streamlining operations, to ensure that NSO remains one of the world’s leading high-tech cyber intelligence companies.” added the spokesperson.
According to multiple reportabout 100 employees, or about 13% of NSO’s workforce, will also be laid off as part of the company’s restructuring, leaving Shohat to lead the company until the board appoints a new CEO.
“Today is a sad day for NSO Group. After a difficult period full of obstacles and challenges, the company has been forced to let go of over 100 employees.” I have written Leader of the company’s financial planning and analytics team at LinkedIn.
NSO Group faces ongoing criticism over its Pegasus software and alleged espionage. The company has filed multiple lawsuits after allegations that its tools were misused by governments and other agencies to hack the phones of journalists, dissidents and human rights activists without their knowledge.
“Vetted and Justified”
NSO Group says the software is sold only to “vetted and legitimate” government customers, but refuses to disclose its customer list.—Used by government agencies to target terrorists, pedophiles, and criminals.
The spyware is known to be used in Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Latin America.
But the Pegasus Project, a collaborative effort of over 80 journalists from 17 media organizations in 10 countries, Investigation In July 2021, the spyware was allegedly used to target heads of state, activists, and journalists, including members of the family of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi before and after his murder.
In a statement, NSO Group denied the Pegasus Project’s allegations, saying “the technology had nothing to do with the heinous murder of Jamal Khashoggi.”
Last year, the U.S. Department of Commerce Blacklisted The company, along with a series of other foreign companies, said that “these organizations developed spyware and used these tools to maliciously target government officials, journalists, businessmen, activists, academics, and embassy officials.” based on evidence that it has provided to foreign governments that
WhatsApp’s parent company, Facebook’s Meta Platforms Inc., filed a lawsuit against NSO in 2019. NSO claims to have used advanced spyware to target approximately 1,400 users of an encrypted messaging service.
Apple also sued NSO in 2021, accusing the company of spying on and targeting users of Apple devices.
NSO maintains that its software is sold only to vetted government customers, and has since spent “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in lobbying to remove it from the blacklist. I came. ProPublica Report.
In April of this year, NSO asked the Supreme Court to recognize the company as an agent of a foreign government. The company says this provides immunity under U.S. law restricting litigation against foreign countries.
“Our products continue to be in high demand by government and law enforcement agencies due to our cutting-edge technology and proven ability to assist these customers in the fight against crime and terrorism. statement to Reuters on Sunday. “NSO ensures that its breakthrough technology is used for a legitimate and worthy purpose.”