NSO Group

L3Harris in talks to buy Israeli spyware firm NSO, reports say

Deal with U.S. defense contractor could see controversy-riven company removed from Commerce Department banned list as purchase raises counterintelligence and security concerns in Washington

Reuters |
Published: 06.15.22, 19:43
U.S. defense contractor L3Harris is in talks to buy Israeli spyware firm NSO Group, U.S. and Israeli media reported, citing sources with knowledge of the deal.
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  • The deal is yet to be finalized and needs to be approved by Israel, the U.S. and L3Harris' board of directors, according to the joint report by Haaretz, The Washington Post and The Guardian, and confirms parts of a report published in Intelligence Online this week.
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    NSO
    NSO Group
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    It noted that The White House is concerned that any deal to buy the Israeli firm's hacking tools would raise serious counterintelligence and security concerns.
    NSO declined to comment on the reports.
    The surveillance firm, which makes the Pegasus software, has been in the spotlight after revelations its tools had been used by governments and other agencies to spy on people's cellphones. NSO has said its technology helps catch criminals.
    NSO lost many of its existing customers when the U.S. Commerce Department in November banned the company.
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    NSO
    NSO
    (Photo: AFP)
    The reports said that if approved, the deal could see NSO removed from the banned list — either directly, or by having its assets bought by L3Harris, which will only work with the United States and its allies.
    In January, NSO had told Reuters it was in talks with a number of U.S. funds over "various financial moves", confirming media reports that it was discussing a sale of its assets.
    Apple is among those to have sued NSO, saying it violated U.S. laws by breaking into the software installed on iPhones.
    Microsoft Corp, Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc , Google parent Alphabet Inc and Cisco Systems Inc have also criticized NSO or taken legal action.
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