The U.S. government has added four foreign technology companies to its restricted companies list, saying they "developed and supplied spyware to foreign governments" and that the spyware was used "to maliciously target government officials, journalists, businesspeople, activists, academics, and embassy workers."
The State Department accused the companies of "engaging in activities contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States."
The companies are Israel's NSO Group and Candiru, Russia's Positive Technologies, and Singapore's Computer Security Initiative Consultancy PTE. LTD.
These companies will now face severe restrictions in exporting their products to the U.S., and it will make it difficult for U.S. cybersecurity firms to sell them information that could be useful in developing their products.
"This effort is aimed at improving citizens' digital security, combating cyber threats, and mitigating unlawful surveillance," the State Department said.
According to Reuters, both NSO Group and Candiru have been accused of selling their products to authoritarian regimes. NSO said it takes actions to prevent the abuse of its products.
Positive Technologies has been in the crosshairs before, having been sanctioned by the Biden administration for allegedly providing assistance to Russian security forces. The company said it has done nothing wrong.
None of the companies commented on their blacklisting.
Some information in this report comes from Reuters.