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August 21, 2022 12:10 pm

NSO Lays Off 100 Employees, CEO Shalev Hulio to Step Down

avatar by Meir Orbach / CTech

A man reads at a stand of the NSO Group Technologies, an Israeli technology firm known for its Pegasus spyware enabling the remote surveillance of smartphones, at the annual European Police Congress in Berlin, Germany, February 4, 2020. Photo: REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

CTechOffensive cyber company NSO is laying off 100 of its 700 employees, Calcalist has learned. In addition, co-founder and CEO Shalev Hulio will be stepping down from his role and will be replaced by current COO Yaron Shohat. Hulio will remain in the company and be in charge of mergers and acquisitions. As part of this new role, Hulio will be responsible for helping the company find a new owner. As the new CEO, Shohat is in charge of implementing the company’s reorganization process, including the layoffs.

NSO has been under especially intense scrutiny since last year. Apple filed a lawsuit against NSO Group and its parent company OSY Technologies for alleged surveillance and targeting of the US in November of last year. Apple was the latest in a string of companies and governments to come after NSO, the maker of the Pegasus hacking tool that watchdog groups say targeted human rights workers and journalists. Earlier that month, US officials placed the company on a trade blacklist. NSO has also faced either legal action or criticism from Microsoft, Meta, Alphabet, and Cisco. NSO is allegedly involved in circumventing security for products made by these companies and selling that circumvention in the form of hacking tools to foreign governments.

NSO told Calcalist: “The company will be implementing a cutback and reorganization program in order to adjust itself to the challenges ahead. As part of this, 100 employees will be laid off, and Shalev Hulio will step down from his role as CEO to continue and focus on mergers and the sale of the company. Yaron Shohat, who has filled several executive roles at the company over the past four years, will lead the company and its cutback and reorganization process.”

Sources close to the company told Calcalist that the Ministry of Defense’s decision to reduce the number of licenses for the sale of offensive cyber tools has already led some companies to bankruptcy and that others will also go bust should this policy not change. Despite recent rumors that NSO is on the verge of bankruptcy, Calcalist has learned that it will end 2022 with revenue of around $150 million.

Earlier this month, an inspection team headed by Deputy Attorney General Amit Marari published a report verifying the core findings revealed by Calcalist earlier this year in regard to the police’s use of spyware and offensive cyber tools developed by NSO and other companies against citizens.

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