The Israeli cybersecurity firm NSO Group has been accused of selling sophisticated digital surveillance technology to Saudi Arabia and other countries that are suspected of using it to attack dissidents and journalists.
It’s also very profitable.
Becky Peterson this week lifted the lid on the secretive startup, revealing NSO Group’s profits and customer breakdown for the first time, and shining a light on a web of more than a dozen similar startups in Israel, many of which operate in secret, that sell attacks against routers, computers, smart speakers, and other digital devices.
As she reports:
These companies often describe their wares as “lawful interception” or “intelligence” tools, though this hardly tells the full story. They all sell tools that take devices and turn them against their users to secretly spy without leaving a trace.
Whatever you call this technology, business is booming. Governments and law-enforcement agencies around the world are paying millions of dollars. And startups both inside of Israel and out are ready to sell.
You can also read about how Becky got inside the NSO Group and the offensive cyber world in this Q&A.
In other news, WeWork’s IPO appears to be on rocky ground, and the company could cut its valuation by as much as half. Here’s our latest:
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In Business Insider’s latest webinar, Headset CEO Cy Scott walks through how he put together the pitch deck that helped him raise a $12 million Series A. Scott was joined by Poseidon Asset Management partners Emily and Morgan Paxhia, who led the round.
You can watch the full webinar right here.
Finance and Investing
Goldman Sachs’ latest strategy pivot is already raising hackles with one of its largest clients.
In related news, Marty Chavez, Goldman Sachs’ trading chief, this week announced his plans to retire from the Wall Street firm at the end of the year. Dakin talked to him about the bank’s tech transformation, why now is the right time for him to step down, and what he’s planning next.
Barclays has raised the bar for hiring outsiders and is leaving vacant roles unfilled — resulting in what some insiders say amounts to an informal hiring freeze for investment banking, FICC trading, and certain back-office roles — according to five sources familiar with the situation.
Since the US yield curve inverted and startled the market, there’s been a debate about whether the recession warning sign was for real.
Tech, Media, Telecoms
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Amazon is trying to grow its nascent ad business by proving it can show advertisers how digital ads drive people to shop on Amazon.
With massive growth in venture capital, VC firms are scrambling for the chance to invest in the next unicorn by retooling their business models and looking for ways to differentiate.
Healthcare, Retail, Transportation
Todd Mitchell loves his Peloton. He didn’t love the gummy grape candy that he said ended up stuck to his $4,295 treadmill during the delivery process.
The market for a burger without beef is beginning to sizzle.
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