Amid massive backlash over an international media consortium’s report, which stated that Pegasus spyware was used to snoop on journalists, political leaders and activists across the world, Israel-based NSO group, which owns Pegasus technology late on Friday, temporarily blocked access to several of its government clients across the world and barred them from accessing its spyware.
According to a report published by Times of India, the move follows raids on NSO offices by Israeli authorities “to begin assessing” allegations of security breach levelled by various international actors against NSO.
Local media reports said that the Israeli agencies which are conducting inspections include the Export Control Division of the Ministry of Defence and the National Security Council, which is also authorised to conduct investigations if necessary.
The focus of the investigation is to examine whether NSO acted in accordance with the permits and powers granted to it by the Export Control Division of the Ministry of Defence, the reports said.
Mercury Public Affairs, which represents NSO Group, said in a statement: "We can confirm that representatives from the Israeli Ministry of Defense visited our offices. We welcome their inspection. "
"The company is working in full transparency with the Israeli authorities. We are confident that this inspection will prove the facts are as declared repeatedly by the Company against the false allegations made against us in the recent media attacks," it said.
Israel last week established a committee to review the allegations of misuse of the NSO group's surveillance software and hinted at a possible "review of the whole matter of giving licences".
(With PTI inputs)