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L3Harris in talks to buy Israeli spyware firm NSO


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – The logo for Israeli cyber company NSO Group can be seen in one of its branches, Arava Desert. It was taken July 22, 2021. REUTERS/Amir Cohen/File photo

JERUSALEM – U.S. Defence Contractor L3Harris was reported to be in negotiations with Israeli spy firm NSO Group by U.S. media and Israeli media, citing people who are familiar with the matter.

The deal is yet to be finalised and needs to be approved by Israel, the U.S. and L3Harris’ board of directors, according to the joint report by Haaretz, The Washington Post and The Guardian, and confirms parts of a report published in Intelligence Online this week.

It noted that The White House is concerned that any deal with to buy the Israeli firm’s hacking tools would raise serious counterintelligence and security concerns.

NSO refused to comment.

The surveillance firm, which makes the Pegasus software, has been in the spotlight after revelations its tools had been used by governments and other agencies to spy on people’s cellphones. NSO claimed that its technology aids in the capture of criminals.

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NSO suffered a lot of losses from its customers, as the U.S. Commerce Department had in November ban the company.

The reports said that if approved, the deal could see NSO removed from the banned list – either directly, or by having its assets bought by L3Harris, which will only work with the United States and its allies.

NSO informed Reuters that in January it had been talking with a variety of U.S. fund managers about “various finance moves”, confirming previous media reports that NSO was still discussing a sale.

Apple (NASDAQ: ) has sued NSO, claiming that it broke into iPhones’ software and violated U.S. law.

Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ):, Facebook (NASDAQ):) parent Meta Platforms Inc. Google parent Alphabet NASDAQ:) Inc. Cisco Systems Inc (NASDAQ): have all criticised NSO and taken legal action.