The Israeli spy company NSO Group will lay off 100 of its 700 people. The CEO will also be changed, although he will not leave the company.
Shalev Hulio, the current CEO of NSO, will temporarily pass on his position to COO Yaron Shohat until a full-fledged successor is found. He will mainly focus on acquisitions and mergers. Although in practice, this means that he can now look full-time for potential buyers of NSO.
At the same time, the company confirms to various media that it is letting about 100 people out of 700 employees leave to restructure internally.
NSO Group has been under fire for some time because of its working methods and tools. For example, it offers the Pegasus spyware tool that can be used to eavesdrop on telephones. Formally, it only offers these to democratic governments. Still, over the past two years, it became clear that less democratic regimes were also customers and that not only terrorists but also journalists, human rights activists, and political opponents were targeted.
At the same time, NSO uses vulnerabilities it can find in, for example, WhatsApp or iOS, to sharpen its hacking attempts. Partly for this reason, the company has already received fierce criticism or lawsuits from Apple, Meta (WhatsApp), Microsoft, and Cisco.
As a result, the company was recently blacklisted by the US, which means that American companies are hardly allowed to do business with NSO. There was talk that the American defense company L3 Harris wanted to take over the company, but that never became very concrete.