Israeli authorities raid offices of spyware maker Pegasus

On Wednesday, July 28, Israeli intelligence officials raided the offices of commercial spyware manufacturer NSO Group.

The searches came after Amnesty International and Forbidden Stories released new data earlier this month that governments in dozens of countries are using NSO Group's Pegasus spyware to spy on journalists, human rights defenders and dissidents.

"Representatives of a number of services arrived at the NSO today to verify the accuracy of the facts and accusations in this case, stated in the publications," the Israeli Defense Ministry said on Twitter.

“We can confirm that representatives of the Israeli Ministry of Defense have visited our offices. We welcomed their verification. The company is completely open to the Israeli authorities. We are confident this verification will prove that the facts, as the company has repeatedly stated, contradict the false accusations brought against us during the recent media attacks, ”the press service of the NSO Group told The Record.

According to the sources of the publication, the searches took place in the offices of the company in the city of Herzliya, near Tel Aviv. The nature of the searches and who participated in them is not disclosed. However, according to the Israeli news outlet Calcalist, its source said the searches were more like a formal meeting without thoroughly checking the company's documents and computer systems.

In democracies, manufacturers of offensive software, such as hacking and tracking tools, must register with government agencies and obtain an export license. NSO Group has a license issued by the Israeli government.

Yesterday's searches are not evidence that the company has violated the terms of the license. Israeli authorities are only carrying out standard investigative measures in a case that has received international attention after several news outlets reported that NSO Group clients may have attacked the personal smartphones of several heads of state.

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