Israel’s NSO Group, the maker of the worldwide controversial Pegasus spyware, said on Sunday that its CEO was stepping down as part of a restructuring.
The indebted, privately owned company also said it would focus sales on countries belonging to the NATO alliance.
In July last year, a multinational journalism investigation revealed that Pegasus spyware was sold by NSO to governments around the world and used against human rights activists, politicians, journalists and others.
“NSO Group today announced that the company will be restructured and that CEO Shalev Hulio will step down,” a company spokesperson said in a statement.
The spokesman said the firm’s chief operating officer Yaron Shohat will now “lead” and manage the restructuring process.
In the context of the 30-member North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the “reorganization” will examine all aspects of its business, with a focus on NATO-member countries to ensure that NSO is one of the world’s leading high-tech cyber intelligence companies. To focus involves streamlining your operations. Political and military alliances.
Pegasus spyware is used to infiltrate mobile phones and extract data or activate cameras or microphones.
The NSO Group states that the software is only sold to government agencies targeting criminals and terrorists, and requires Israeli government approval for sale.
The company says the software has helped security forces in several countries prevent crime and deter attacks. It has also emphasized that its overseas sales are licensed by Israel’s Defense Ministry and do not control how its customers use Pegasus.
The company was already in debt even before the espionage scandal broke out and prompted the United States to ban NSO.
Earlier this year, AFP reviewed hundreds of pages of court documents in a dispute involving NSO, its creditors and Berkeley Research Group (BRG), NSO’s parent company’s majority shareholders.
The documents suggested that creditors sought to push NSO to continue selling Pegasus to “advanced risk” countries with questionable human rights records in order to maintain revenue.
But Berkeley Research sought to cast doubt on the sale without more internal reviews, citing an “absolute need for (NSO) to address the underlying issues”, which led to it being banned in the US.
Company co-founder Hulio said in an NSO statement that the firm is “restructuring to prepare for its next phase of growth.”
He praised Shohat as “the right choice” and said that NSO’s technologies “continue to help save lives around the world”.
In the same statement, Shohat said: “NSO will ensure that the company’s unprecedented technologies are used for the right and deserving purposes.”
Disclosures about the use of Pegasus spyware continue.
In late July, the European Commission, the EU’s executive branch in Brussels, said it had received indications that the phones of some of its top officials had been compromised by spyware, according to a letter seen by AFP.
Also last month, an international digital rights group report said dozens of Thai democracy activists had been targeted by Pegasus during widespread anti-government protests.