Spyware Manufacturers Express Concern Following US Sanctions on Spyware Veteran

Credits: The Washington Post

The U.S. Treasury recently imposed sanctions on Dilian and Hamou for their alleged involvement in developing and selling spyware used to target Americans, including government employees, policy experts, and journalists, leading to human rights violations globally.

This marks a shift in strategy, as the U.S. government has typically targeted spyware companies rather than individuals. Former industry insiders expressed concern over the sanctions. One individual noted Dilian’s willingness to sell to anyone and his attempts to circumvent U.S. government restrictions.

US Concern on Spyware Veteran (Credits: Yahoo News UK)

Another described Dilian as lacking subtlety in his actions, contrasting with the cautious approach typically required in the spyware industry.

A key point of concern is the inherent risk in the industry, particularly regarding ensuring that customers act ethically and the potential political fallout. The sanctions against Dilian and Hamou are seen as a warning to the entire spyware market.

The U.S. government’s actions against spyware makers have escalated recently. In 2021, NSO Group was added to the blocklist for its spyware’s use against journalists and human rights defenders.

Cytrox and Intellexa were added in 2023. The similar treatment of NSO Group and Candiru suggests that the founders and executives of these companies may also be targeted in the future.

Spyware Maker (Credits: TechCrunch)

However, it remains uncertain if executives from NSO Group and Candiru are concerned about potential sanctions. Dilian and Hamou have not responded to requests for comment.

The sanctions against Dilian and Hamou are significant as they represent a departure from the U.S. government’s previous approach.

By directly targeting individuals involved in the development and sale of spyware, the U.S. government is sending a clear message that it will hold individuals accountable for their actions in the spyware industry.

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