• By The Financial District

Israel Spyware Maker NSO Inks Deal With Firm Of Expert Hackers

The offensive spyware company NSO is operating a consulting firm called Realmode Labs, whose employees – former members of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) technology units – are experts in finding security vulnerabilities in computing services, as illustrated by the recent break-in at Amazon servers, Chaim Levinson reported for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

Photo Insert: People who can find security vulnerabilities are in high demand in the cyber world.

Realmode Labs was established early last year. It is registered in Petah Tikva but has its offices in Tel Aviv. Heading the company is Ariel Tempelhof, a graduate of the Psagot program, the most prestigious IDF program for training soldiers in technology.

Tempelhof was a researcher and team lead doing security-related work while in the army. He then worked for “the State of Israel,” later heading up Realmode in January 2020.

According to the firm’s website, its employees are “top-notch researchers and developers of security-related products, graduates of the IDF, government agencies and leading companies in this industry.”

Realmode first operated as a consulting service, and large organizations hired it for locating breaches in their security systems.

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“We offer research and development services to local and international clients,” says the company’s website, which notes the company’s wide experience in a variety of software systems. The website further notes that “our expertise is in contending with difficult problems in new areas and solving them quickly.”

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Realmode’s “product” is its employees, since people who can find vulnerabilities are in high demand in the cyber world. An example of the company’s capabilities may be found in an article published in January by one of its employees, Yuval Bar-On.

Bar-On found a breach in the book-reading service Kindle, which allowed hackers to obtain the credit card information of its users and make purchases on Amazon. The breach was closed and Amazon paid Bar-On $18,000 for finding it.

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