Shalev Hulio, chief executive officer and co-founder of Israeli spyware firm NSO Group, has resigned amid a corporate shakeup that includes laying off more than 100 employees. Yaron Shohat, chief operating officer and former CEO, takes the mantle back from Hulio while the company searches for a permanent replacement.
Founded in 2010, NSO Group has been the subject of criticism and litigation for its alleged sales of its proprietary spyware software, Pegasus, to countries including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, India, and others. The software has been used to spy on human rights activists, journalists, and political rivals — including at least one president. The company denies any wrongdoing, claiming to simply provide military-grade spyware to governments to stop terrorists and criminals.
NSO Group claims Hulio’s resignation is part of reorganization efforts aimed at shifting its focus toward NATO countries, while the ex-CEO can turn his attention toward finding a buyer for his company. He may also attempt to persuade the U.S. Department of Commerce to remove NSO Group from the blacklist it landed on in 2021. Meta’s WhatsApp and Apple have both filed lawsuits against the company for using their services to hack users.