Apple to Sue Israeli Spyware Firm NSO Group

 Apple has launched a lawsuit against NSO Group, an Israeli spyware firm for allegedly targeting iPhone users with a hacking tool. 

In a statement, Apple said the complaint provides new information on how NSO Group infected victims’ devices with its Pegasus spyware. 

To prevent further abuse and harm to its users, Apple is also seeking a permanent injunction to ban NSO Group from using any Apple software, services, or devices, it added.

NSO Group creates sophisticated, state-sponsored surveillance technology that allows its highly targeted spyware to surveil its victims, Apple alleged, adding, “These attacks are only aimed at a very small number of users, and they impact people across multiple platforms, including iOS and Android. Researchers and journalists have publicly documented a history of this spyware being abused to target journalists, activists, dissidents, academics, and government officials.”

“State-sponsored actors like the NSO Group spend millions of dollars on sophisticated surveillance technologies without effective accountability. That needs to change,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. 

“Apple devices are the most secure consumer hardware on the market — but private companies developing state-sponsored spyware have become even more dangerous. While these cybersecurity threats only impact a very small number of our customers, we take any attack on our users very seriously, and we’re constantly working to strengthen the security and privacy protections in iOS to keep all our users safe.”

The spyware was used to attack a small number of Apple users worldwide with dangerous malware and spyware. 

Apple’s lawsuit seeks to ban NSO Group from further harming individuals by using Apple’s products and services. The lawsuit also seeks redress for NSO Group’s flagrant violations of US federal and state law, arising out of its efforts to target and attack Apple and its users, the statement added.

“At Apple, we are always working to defend our users against even the most complex cyberattacks. The steps we’re taking today will send a clear message: In a free society, it is unacceptable to weaponize powerful state-sponsored spyware against those who seek to make the world a better place,” said Ivan Krstić, head of Apple Security Engineering and Architecture. 

“Our threat intelligence and engineering teams work around the clock to analyze new threats, rapidly patch vulnerabilities, and develop industry-leading new protections in our software and silicon. Apple runs one of the most sophisticated security engineering operations in the world, and we will continue to work tirelessly to protect our users from abusive state-sponsored actors like NSO Group.”

Those claims have been countered by cybersecurity researchers who discovered NSO software used by governments to spy on human rights activists and journalists around the world.

“Thousands of lives were saved around the world thanks to NSO Group’s technologies used by its customers,” a company spokesperson was quoted by nbcnews.

“Pedophiles and terrorists can freely operate in technological safe-havens, and we provide governments the lawful tools to fight it. NSO Group will continue to advocate for the truth,” the spokesperson said.


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