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Report: L3 Emerges as Suitor for Embattled NSO Group

L3 Technologies, a U.S. government contractor that sells aerospace and defense technology, has emerged as a suitor for Israeli exploit merchant NSO Group.

According to a published report, the New York-based L3 Technologies is the “leading candidate” to acquire NSO Group, the controversial company that has been blacklisted by the U.S. government and sued by multiple big-tech companies.

L3 previously acquired Azimuth Security and LinchPin Labs, two companies that operate in the shadowy business of supplying exploit and spying tools to governments.

In recent years, NSO Group’s flagship Pegasus spyware tool has been used to break into phones of human rights activists, journalists and activists around the world.  

[ READ: NSO Pegasus Zero-Click 'Most Technically Sophisticated Exploit Ever Seen' ]

As previously reported, Pegasus infiltrates phones to vacuum up personal and location data and surreptitiously controls the smartphone’s microphones and cameras. Researchers have found several examples of NSO Group tools using so-called “zero click” exploits that infect targeted mobile phones without any user interaction.

Tech giants Facebook and Apple are currently suing NSO Group in U.S. federal court for allegedly targeting WhatsApp users with its spyware and for abusing access to Apple’s products and services.

Apple’s lawsuit is seeking to hold NSO Group accountable for hacking into Apple’s iOS mobile platform with so-called zero-click exploits to spy on researchers, journalists, activists, dissidents, academics, and government officials.

Related: NSO Pegasus Zero-Click 'Most Technically Sophisticated Exploit Ever Seen'

Related: Apple Slaps Lawsuit on NSO Group Over Pegasus iOS Exploitation

Related: US Puts New Controls on Israeli Spyware Company NSO Group

Related: Spyware Find Highlights Depth of Hacker-for-Hire Industry

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Ryan Naraine is Editor-at-Large at SecurityWeek and host of the popular Security Conversations podcast series. Ryan is a veteran cybersecurity strategist who has built security engagement programs at major global brands, including Intel Corp., Bishop Fox and GReAT. He is a co-founder of Threatpost and the global SAS conference series. Ryan's past career as a security journalist included bylines at major technology publications including Ziff Davis eWEEK, CBS Interactive's ZDNet, PCMag and PC World. Ryan is a director of the Security Tinkerers non-profit, an advisor to early-stage entrepreneurs, and a regular speaker at security conferences around the world. Follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanaraine.