Cyber attack
Cyber attack Istock

The US Department of Commerce has added two Israeli companies to its list of entities "engaging in activities that are contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States."

Companies from Russia and Singapore were also added to the list.

"NSO Group and Candiru (Israel) were added to the Entity List based on evidence that these entities developed and supplied spyware to foreign governments that used these tools to maliciously target government officials, journalists, businesspeople, activists, academics, and embassy workers," the Commerce Department said Wednesday in a statement.

"These tools have 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. Such practices threaten the rules-based international order."

“The United States is committed to aggressively using export controls to hold companies accountable that develop, traffic, or use technologies to conduct malicious activities that threaten the cybersecurity of members of civil society, dissidents, government officials, and organizations here and abroad," U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo said in the statement.

The statement also noted that "Today’s action is a part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to put human rights at the center of U.S. foreign policy, including by working to stem the proliferation of digital tools used for repression."