© ReutersIsraeli cyber firm NSO Group's exhibition stand is seen at Israel security expo in Tel Aviv, June 4th 2019
After media reports, months ago, on Pegasus' usage in various spyware attacks on heads of states, journalists, political activists, and human rights activists, the United States decided to blacklist NSO, Pegasus' parent company.

The United States placed "Israel's" spyware maker NSO Group, the corporation behind the notorious Pegasus, on its list of restricted companies. NSO Group's Pegasus was exposed as having been used by oppressive regimes to spy on journalists, human rights activists, dissidents, and even heads of state.

According to an investigation led by The Washington Post and 16 media partners, Pegasus is military-grade spyware leased by the Israeli firm to governments who used it in attempted and successful hacks of 37 smartphones belonging to journalists, human rights activists, and business executives.

Comment: These are hacks that we know about, it's likely that there are many more, as well as other spywares currently at work.

Smartphones infected with the Israeli spyware would become pocket-spying devices, allowing the user to read the target's messages, look through their photos, track their location, and even turn on their camera without their knowledge.

Pegasus has also "enabled foreign governments to conduct transnational repression, which is the practice of authoritarian governments targeting dissidents, journalists, and activists outside of their sovereign borders to silence dissent," the US Commerce Department said in a statement.

Washington also targeted another Israeli company, Candiru, a Singapore-based Computer Security Initiative Consultancy PTE (COSEINC).

These two companies added to the "entity list" means exports to them from US organizations are restricted, rendering it much more difficult for US researchers to sell them information or technology.

NSO did not immediately reply to a request for comment.