Based in Israel, NSO Group caters to government agencies and specializes in mobile malware. It is known for making powerful, professional-grade cyber surveillance tools. Today, the company alleged that a former employee stole the code for one of those tools and attempted to sell it on the dark web.
The employee was reportedly on deck to be dismissed. Before he left the company, he allegedly researched how to override protections on NSO computers that would prevent such thefts of intellectual property–and then successfully grabbed the product source code.
From there, the indictment alleges that the employee tried to sell the malware tool on the dark web for $50 million in cryptocurrencies. That, after reportedly researching how to sell cyber capabilities, and which buyers to target, according to Motherboard.
As he tried to sell the code, the defendant supposedly posed as a hacker who had breached NSO. A potential customer reported back to NSO, which then worked with police to arrest the individual.
As Reuters reports, “The Justice Ministry in Israel said that, according to testimony gathered in the case, the ex-employee’s alleged actions ‘endangered NSO and could have led to its collapse’ and also posed a threat to state security.”
According to Motherboard, the cyber surveillance firm has been viewed in a controversial light for providing tools to governments that have reportedly abused them. “In Mexico, authorities used NSO’s malware to spy on journalists and human rights activists.”
Get the full story at Motherboard.