Amazon Web Services has shut down infrastructure and accounts linked to Israeli surveillance vendor NSO Group, US media group Vice reported on Monday.
This is expected to be move after a group of 17 media organisations published an investigative report on use of NSO Group’s spyware in attempt and successful hacks of 37 smartphones belonging to journalists, government officials and human rights activists around the world. NSO denied the report, saying its products were intended only for use by government clients.
“When we learned of this activity, we acted quickly to shut down the relevant infrastructure and accounts,” an Amazon spokesperson had told Motherboard in an email.
Amazon did not immediately clarify if the accounts were related to NSO Group.
From a list of more than 50,000 cellphone numbers obtained by the Paris-based journalism nonprofit Forbidden Stories and the human rights group Amnesty International and shared with 16 news organisations, journalists were able to identify more than 1,000 individuals in 50 countries who were allegedly selected by NSO clients for potential surveillance.
They include 189 journalists, more than 600 politicians, and government officials, at least 65 business executives, 85 human rights activists, and several heads of state, according to The Washington Post, a consortium member. The journalists work for organisations including The Associated Press, Reuters, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, Le Monde, and The Financial Times.