Apple Files Lawsuit Against Israeli Spyware Firm NSO Group

Published November 24th, 2021 - 10:30 GMT
Apple Files Lawsuit Against Israeli Spyware Firm NSO Group
NSO's Pegasus software can infect both iPhones and Android devices, allowing attackers to extract messages, photos and emails, record calls and secretly activate microphones and cameras. (Shutterstock)

Apple Inc. said on Tuesday it has has launched a lawsuit against the Israeli spyware firm, NSO Group, and its parent company OSY Technologies for alleged surveillance and targeting of U.S. Apple users with its Pegasus spyware.

 

In its complaint, the company claimed that NSO’s Pegasus had been used to “attack a small number of its users worldwide with malicious malware and spyware”.

It's worth noting that NSO's Pegasus software can infect both iPhones and Android devices, allowing attackers to extract messages, photos and emails, record calls and secretly activate microphones and cameras.

In its defence, NSO Group claims its tools were made to target terrorists and criminals. It also says that it only supplies Pegasus to military, law enforcement and intelligence agencies from countries with good human-rights records.

However, earlier this month, US officials added the company to a trade blacklist, claiming that the software had "enabled foreign governments to conduct transnational repression, which is the practice of authoritarian governments targeting dissidents, journalists and activists".

It's been reported that the Israeli company has in the past sold its surveillance software to countries with poor human rights records like Saudi Arabia and Mexico.

According to Apple's blog post,  the tech giant said it wanted to hold NSO Group and its parent company OSY Technologies "accountable for the surveillance and targeting of Apple users".

“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 weaponise 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.


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