According to the latest news, as per The Washington Post reports, the US Department of Commerce announced a new rule to prevent hacking tools sale to China and Russia. The change was framed in a press release on Wednesday. As per this framework, US companies would need to have a license to sell spyware and other hacking software to countries “of national security or weapons of mass destruction concern.” The framework is designed in a complex fashion purposefully.
From now on, if a US company wants to export spyware to a country that is blacklisted due to national security concerns, the company would mandatorily need a license. However, if the software is specifically for cyber defence and not sold to anyone associated with the government, then no license will be required. In simple words, US companies will need a license to export hacking software and equipment to countries like China, Russia, and such countries.
Gina M. Raimondo, the US Secretary of Commerce said “The United States is committed to working with our multilateral partners to deter the spread of certain technologies that can be used for malicious activities that threaten cyber security and human rights.” The rule will go into effect from January 2022 and targets tools and software like Pegasus. It is to be noted that Pegasus is software made by Israel based company NSO Group. It was used by governments to spy on smartphones belonging to journalists and human rights activists.
The US has been a respected member of the Wassenaar Arrangement that sets rules on the export of dual-use technologies. The US is one of 42 participating countries to impose restrictions on the sale of hacking tools. As of now, the Department of Commerce is allowing a period of 45 days for public comment and another 45 days for amending additional changes before the final call.