U.S. blacklists Cytrox and Intellexa

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The U.S. Commerce Department has placed two spyware vendors, Cytrox and Intellexa, on a trade blacklist, citing national security concerns.

The blacklist prohibits U.S. companies from conducting business with Cytrox and Intellexa. The two companies are known for developing exploits that allow government customers to hack into someone’s phone without them knowing. The blacklisting affects Cytrox and Intellexa’s holdings in Greece, Hungary, Ireland, and North Macedonia.

The companies have been linked to the Predator spyware, which has been found on phones belonging to an exiled Egyptian politician, an Egyptian news host, and a Greek politician. Researchers at Citizen Lab, Meta, and Google have called out the companies’ capabilities, noting it’s allowed various groups to successfully and stealthily hack both iOS and Android devices.

The Biden administration is also encouraging other countries to consider measures they can take within their own respective systems to crack down on the proliferation of commercial spyware.

The sources for this piece include an article in Axios.

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