NSO Group, the creators of the infamous Pegasus spyware have been shut out of Amazon Web Services. AWS took the decision in light of the recent stories being published against the spyware.
While this was unearthed in 2020 itself, Amazon declined to take any action or even comment on the story. Now, Pegasus is linked to human rights abuse around the world. So Amazon has shut down the CloudFront accounts linked to NSO Group.
For the uninitiated, CloudFront is a content delivery network by Amazon. According to the official website, CloudFront “securely delivers data, videos, applications, and APIs to customers globally with low latency, high transfer speeds, all within a developer-friendly environment.”
So Amazon’s content delivery system was used by NSO Group to deliver Pegasus spyware. Now, Amazon has shut down the AWS accounts linked to NSO Group. Here’s an excerpt from the statement mailed by Amazon to Motherboard:
“When we learned of this activity, we acted quickly to shut down the relevant infrastructure and accounts…”From an Amazon spokesperson’s email to Motherboard (Vice)
NSO Group was using Amazon’s CloudFront to prevent being It did so as the use of Cloud services like Amazon protected NSO Group from being tracked down on the internet. While the shutdown is a significant step, it might be too little too late for Amazon.
Motherboard’s 2020 coverage of the issue brought out that the Israeli spyware was using Amazon’s services. At that time, Amazon did not do anything about it. This time, the company’s strike on NSO Group’s accounts is probably coming due to a possible PR crisis brewing for Amazon.
It is also reported last year that Jeff Bezos’ phone was also hacked by Pegasus spyware. The current list of affected people has numbers of journalists, activists, and opposition leaders in various governments.
In a nutshell, NSO Group’s Pegasus used Amazon CloudFront to inject spyware into people’s phones. While Amazon may not have an active role in the spying, its ignorance of the issue in 2020 can create problems for the company. Amazon is currently facing antitrust charges in India for flouting FDI rules.