According to the latest rumors, NSO Group has decided to block the development and distribution of the Pegasus spyware used by several governments to spy on political opponents, activists and journalists.
After the US government ban and Apple’s lawsuit against Pegasus, NSO Group seems intent to block entirely its spyware not only for political reasons, but also and above all for financial problems. Apparently, the company would in fact have decided to suspend development and distribution of Pegasus, waiting to sell his tool (or the whole company) to the highest bidder.
Two US funds would have expressed interest in the purchase, adding that the intention is to use Pegasus for defensive purposes and not to attack unsuspecting victims. In practice, hacking would be used to protect smartphones and not to spy on them.
Recall that NSO Group has achieved this spyware called Pegasus, which is sold to government agencies and law enforcement agencies. The company buys the so-called vulnerabilities zero-day (those that are unknown to Apple) by hackers and exploits them to create zero-click exploits, in which no user interaction is required to be able to hack his smartphone. For example, on the iPhone it was enough to simply receive a particular message on iMessage to compromise and expose the personal data saved on the device. Apple has corrected many of the flaws exploited by the group, but the classic cat and mouse fight isn’t over yet.
Apple has already sued the group and several Western governments could follow the United States and ban the use of Pegasus. All this resulted in financial difficulties for NSO Group, as the company would have run out of cash and would not be finding new customers.