A lead programmer working for NSO Group, the Israeli cybersecurity firm behind the notorious Pegasus iPhone malware has been arrested after a failed attempt to illegally sell the top-secret spyware to an unauthorized party via the dark web in exchange for $50 million worth of cryptocurrency.
A report from the Times of Israel states that the 38-year-old engineer from the Netanya has been indicted by prosecutors at the Tel Aviv District Court on charges of “trying to damage property in a way that would harm national security, theft by an employee, activities to market defense material without a permit, and obstruction and interfering with computer material.”
Although the attempted $50 million sale was unsuccessful, the incident raises a number of questions about the internal security processes of NSO and other private cybersecurity firms whose products like Pegasus could have potentially disastrous and far-reaching consequences if they fall into the wrong hands.
Access to NSO Servers
According to a report from Israeli tech news platform CTech, even though the suspect was aware of the damage that could be caused by leaking Pegasus to non-government entities, he went ahead with
his plan to sell the top-secret malware because he was set to lose his job at NSO after violating company policy by connecting an external storage device to the company’s computers after
researching to how to do so without being detected on the internet.
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