NSO Group: More Publicity than Lady Gaga?

June 22, 2020

I want to note briefly the story “Days After New Human Rights Policy, NSO Client Hacked an Activist.” It is clear that the “real news” outfit Motherboard Vice is paying close attention to intelware vendor NSO Group. What’s interesting is that the “real news” hounds have not sniffed around the shoes of other vendors of specialized services. There are hundreds of them, and many of these companies mark their territory with fascinating information. There are videos on YouTube of drones identifying cows about the cross the border into the US. Facial recognition systems with accuracy rates below 50 percent. There are information services which index more contraband sources than a dedicated 15 year old can locate in a month from his parents’ basement.

The NSO beat is predictable. Specialized company licenses technology to a country or shady and mysterious organization. System is used to reveal information. “Real news” outfits report on this terrible transgression. Repeat.

The current story states:

Just three days after controversial surveillance vendor NSO Group announced its new human rights policy, saying that clients can only use the company’s products to combat serious crime and to ensure that they’re not used to violate human rights, a likely Moroccan government agency hacked the phone of a human rights defender using NSO malware, according to a new technical report from Amnesty International.

DarkCyber’s view is that when specialized software vendors hire sales professionals, those sales professionals are like beavers. Beavers do what beavers do; that is, gnaw through trees and build a dam to create a cash pile.

Net net: There are other vendors to monitor. DarkCyber is suffering from NSO Group fatigue. News flash: Other vendors are larger, have more interesting products, and service larger customers. Maybe expand your view to cover intelware without the fixation and repetition of the NSO Group story? Hint: Most specialized software vendors remain true to their corporate vision and, like leopards, rarely change their spots. How about a cross between a beaver and a leopard? What’s that animal do? Bite journalists? Possibly.

Stephen E Arnold, June 22, 2020


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