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#1 2023-07-21 13:43:29

Registered: 2023-01-04
Posts: 1,952

Cytrox and Intellexa Spyware Vendors are Blacklisted by the US Govt

Two foreign commercial spyware vendors, Cytrox and Intellexa, were added to the US government's economic blacklist on Tuesday for using cyberattacks to compromise devices and "threaten the security of individuals and organizations around the world.". Privacy and Security".

This includes the company's holdings in Hungary (Cytrox Holdings Crt), North Macedonia (Cytrox AD), Greece (Intellexa S.A.) and Ireland (Intellexa Limited). Adding to the economic exclusion list, it prohibits US companies from doing business with these companies. The US Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) said: "Recognizing the growing role that surveillance technology plays in repression and other human rights abuses, Commerce's action today targets the ability of these entities to acquire goods, software and technology that may facilitate the development of surveillance tools that pose a risk of violations that violate human rights or human rights."

Cytrox is the maker of a mobile mercenary spyware called Predator, similar to NSO Group's Pegasus. It's part of the Intellexa Alliance, a marketing brand for a coalition of leased surveillance vendors that emerged in 2019, according to the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab.

The consortium is said to consist of Nexa Technologies (formerly Amesys), WiSpear/Passitora Ltd., Cytrox and Senpai, while the exact connection between Cytrox and Intellexa is still unclear. Intellexa founder Tal Dilian describes himself as an intelligence expert with over 25 years of experience in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Intellexa says on its website that it is a regulated company with six locations and research and development laboratories across Europe. Its main product is Nebula, which it calls an "ultimate insight platform" that helps law enforcement "stay ahead of criminal activity."

Dillin was forced to resign from the IDF in 2003 following an internal investigation by three former senior Israeli military officials who suspected Dillin was involved in the mismanagement of funds, The New York Times reported. His website says that he was "honorably discharged" in 2002. In early May, Cisco Talos described the inner workings of Predator, stating that the monitoring tool uses the Alien component to collect sensitive data from infected devices. The Predator also has an iOS counterpart, which was previously seen arriving via a click link sent by WhatsApp. "Aliens are critical to the successful operation of Predator, including Predator's on-demand additions," Cisco Talos threat researcher Asheer Malhotra told The Hacker News at the time. "The relationship between the aliens and the Predators is extremely symbiotic, requiring them to constantly work together to spy on the victims."

The move builds on the US action in November 2021, where the US government added Israeli companies NSO Group and Candiru to its list of entities for developing software targeting government officials, journalists, businessmen, activists, academics and embassy staff. At the same time, the Biden administration signed an executive order restricting the use of commercial spyware by federal government agencies.

While vendors of such digital surveillance tools ostensibly sell them to law enforcement and intelligence agencies around the world to fight serious crimes and national security threats, they have also been misused by governments on several occasions to infiltrate targeted smartphones of members of civil society.


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