Amazon shuts down accounts and cloud infrastructure related to NSO Group

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Amazon Web Services has shut down cloud infrastructure and accounts linked to the Israeli-based NSO group according to a news report by VICE on Monday.

Recent reports from The Washington Post and other publications revealed that NSO Group’s spyware was used in attempted and successful hacks of smartphones belonging to activists, journalists, dissidents, and other individuals around the world.

NSO denies the report published on Sunday after an investigation by 17 media organizations uncovered 50,000 compromised numbers. The group said that the spyware was intended only to be used by government intelligence and law enforcement agencies in the fight against crime and terrorism.

Amazon’s late move

Amazon says that as soon as it learned of the activity, it shut down all relevant infrastructure and accounts. The news was delivered by an Amazon spokesperson in a statement on Monday. The eCommerce giant has not clarified if the accounts shut down belonged to the NSO group.

For the first time, Amazon has addressed the use of its technology by NSO.

Earlier, the eCommerce giant turned down VICE’s request for comment in 2020, when the publication first spotted the connections between Amazon and Pegasus.

This was bound to happen

Even though the NSO Group claims that the software is for use only by vetted governments, they would have to take everyone for a fool if they claim they could not have known it would be used for nefarious purposes.

Democracies and repressive governments alike are not above abusing technological power as leverage against perceived enemies, opponents, and other likely targets (human rights activists, political leaders, persons related to people of interest, etc.)

The spyware is, at present, being delivered using zero-click exploits through the iMessage app on phones running Apple’s iOS.