Amazon Web Services has shut down the accounts of Israeli surveillance firm NSO Group, following explosive revelations of its software being used to target activist and journalists.
The Washington Post reported that NSO Group’s software, which is normally used to combat terrorists and criminals, “was used in attempted and successful hacks of 37 smartphones belonging to journalists, human rights activists, business executives and two women close to murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.”
The reaction has been swift and severe, with the company pledging to investigate the incidents. Nonetheless, Motherboard has reported that AWS is shutting down accounts linked to the Israeli company.
“When we learned of this activity, we acted quickly to shut down the relevant infrastructure and accounts,” an AWS spokesperson told Motherboard in an email.
This issue is a potential minefield for AWS, since a forensic report by Amnesty International shows NSO Group recently started using AWS services, with captured data from its software being sent to a service on Amazon CloudFront.
Given the accusations against NSO Group — especially targeting human rights activists and journalists — it’s likely AWS’ response won’t be the last repercussions the company faces.