The Israeli government has limited the list of countries to which local cybersecurity companies are allowed to sell espionage and hacking tools. The existing list has been reduced by almost two-thirds, and now the export of such solutions is allowed only to 37 countries of the world.
New listing received by the Israeli business publication Calcalist, includes only democracies, including the EU countries and the Five Eyes coalition. That is, all authoritarian regimes to which Israeli companies (such as Candiru and the NSO Group) previously supplied surveillance tools were excluded from the list. The list now includes:
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Netherlands, UK and USA.
The restrictions on the export of cyber weapons are expected to cause tangible damage to the $ 10 billion Israeli spyware market. According to the latest report NATO Atlantic Council, the number of companies that sell surveillance and hacking tools is 224, and 27 of them are based in Israel.
Calcalist journalists write that while the government of the country has not made any official statements about the reduction of the list, and it is not known why it was revised. The media speculate that the Israeli government may have been forced to take such a step under pressure from its allies.
The fact is that, according to The Guardian, a week ago, a secret meeting was held at which Israeli and French officials discussed suspicions that spyware developed by the NSO Group could be used against French President Emmanuel Macron.
Also, earlier this month, U.S. authorities imposed sanctions on four spyware providers, including Israeli companies Candiru and NSO Group. According to the report published after that, the sanctions brought the NSO Group big problems, and now it is actually on the verge of closure.