At least 50 US government employees exposed to spyware, prompting new rules | – #government #employees #exposed #spyware #prompting #rules
WASHINGTON, March 27 (Reuters) – 10 at least 50 located in the country USA government employee was targeted by commercial hacking tools commonly known as spyware, a senior administration official highlighted the growing threat posed by offensive cyber vendors and the White House to introduce rules to curb espionage.
USA President Joseph Biden on Monday USA signed an executive order to prevent the harmful use of digital spy tools worldwide that target its employees and civil society.
The extent of such hacking was previously unknown, but in 2021 Reuters news gave that at least nine employees of the US State Department Apple Inc ( AAPL.O ) iPhones were targeted by an unknown attacker using sophisticated spyware developed by an Israeli company.
At the time, it represented the largest known hack of US officials through such tools.
A senior administration official cited an earlier Reuters report as the reason for a broader internal government investigation.
A senior administration official said that the new execution The order is designed to pressure the secretive industry by placing new restrictions on the procurement decisions of the US government’s defense, law enforcement and intelligence agencies.
By more strictly regulating which organizations can do business with the US government, the idea is that it will change how the shadow market operates and limit sales to certain actors, the official said.
Based on a wide-ranging US government investigation that began in 2021, the official, “We are preventing the spread and misuse of spyware national We have clearly defined it as a security threat,” he said. .”
US Department of State and others, the makers of such hacking tools could be barred from selling to US agencies if they are found to be doing business with foreign governments with poor human rights records.
Additionally, if U.S. intelligence finds evidence that a private commercial spyware platform is being used to target U.S. government employees, then it will also be subject to new restrictions.
The decision follows media and cybersecurity reports in recent years of the sale of spyware to governments around the world, including in the Middle East and Africa, which has reportedly been used against dissidents, human rights defenders and journalists.
“We needed a standard where if we know that a company is selling to a country that is engaged in these listed activities, that in itself is a red flag,” said a senior administration official.
By Christopher Bing report; Edited by Mark Porter and Richard Chang
Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Source – reuters