An Interesting NSO Related Action

November 9, 2022

In what sounds like the idea for a thriller/drama miniseries, The Times of Israel states that; “Former NSO CEO And Ex-Chancellor of Austria Establish New Cybersecurity Startup.” Sebastian Kurz, former Austrian chancellor, and ex-CEO of NSO Group Shalev Hulio established the new cybersecurity company Dream Security.

Hulio and Kurz formed Dream Security to protect critical infrastructures, such as energy, water, and oil facilities from cyber attacks. Dream Security will begin building a market in Europe. Kurz and Hulio raised $20 million in pre-seed funds from investors led by Dove Frances, who is an Israeli-American venture capitalist founder of the Group 11 investment firm. Other investors include entrepreneurs from the Israeli cybersecurity industry and early NSO Group investor Adi Shalev.

Founder Former Wayout Group CEO Gil Dolev will join Dream Security’s initial team.

Kurz and Hulio are concerned with infrastructures from their past work:

“Kurz told the publication that as Austrian chancellor, he ‘witnessed many attacks on governments as well as on manufacturing plants and energy installations, most of which were not published in the media. This has far-reaching implications for supply chains as well as regular energy supplies and public services such as water and hospitals.’

Hulio told Bloomberg he was leaving ‘the intelligence side, offensive side if you want, and move to the defensive side. We saw that the biggest challenge the cyber world is dealing with is critical infrastructure.’ He said the new company would focus on European markets ‘because I currently think that they have the biggest threats right now because of the geopolitical situation.’”

Both men’s reputations are covered with black marks . Kurz left politics because he was accused of a corruption scandal. At NSO Group, Hulio oversaw the development of the Pegasus spyware. Pegasus has been used by countries with poor human rights records to spy on “rabble rousers.” Apple and Facebook are pursuing lawsuits against NSO Group for breaking into their products and violating the terms of use. The European Union is investigating the use of Pegasus by its critics and the US Commerce Department blacklisted the company, then limited access to US components and technology.

Israel is also tightening restrictions on its cybersecurity companies. The number of countries that can buy Israeli cyber technology went from 100 down to 37.

It appears Dream Security is attempting to skirt Israeli restrictions by building a new company in Europe. The leaders are preaching they want to help people by protecting their infrastructures, but it would not be surprising if their plans were more nefarious.

Whitney Grace, November 9, 2022


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