Ministry of Commerce limits sales of hacking tools to Russia and China

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The US Department of Commerce has dealt with the export and resale of cyber intrusion software. Once the restrictions come into effect in 90 days, companies wanting to sell their hacking tools to “national security or weapons of mass destruction” countries must obtain a license from the ministry’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS). The guideline also applies to nations subject to a US arms embargo.

Per , the rule is complicated. There are already many restrictions on exporting intrusion software. There are also possibilities for companies to obtain exceptions. The main point is that the directive would cover sales of software to countries like China and Russia. It would also restrict sales of programs like NSO’s Pegasus spyware that some governments are used to.

“The United States government is opposed to the misuse of technology to violate human rights or conduct other malicious cyber activities, and these new rules will help prevent US companies from promoting authoritarian practices,” the Department of Commerce said.

Of the 42 countries involved in the pact that sets voluntary export controls on military and dual-use technologies, the US is one of the last to limit the sale of hacking software. One reason for this is that the country has been working on the rules for years to ensure cybersecurity researchers around the world aren’t prevented from working together to discover new bugs.

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