Apple is suing Pegasus spyware-creator NSO Group for spying on iPhones of journalists, lawyers and activists. Apple also wants to hold NSO Group accountable for the surveillance and targeting of Apple users. Along with this, Apple is trying to ban NSO Group from using any Apple software, services or devices.
In it’s lawsuit, Apple termed NSO Group as “notorious hackers—amoral 21st century mercenaries who have created highly sophisticated cyber-surveillance machinery that invites routine and flagrant abuse.”
Apple accused NSO Group of developing destructive malware and spyware products and services that have been used to attack users for commercial gains. Apple also said that NSO Group enables their customers (mostly legit governments) to abuse those products and services to target individuals including government officials, journalists, businesspeople, activists, academics, and even U.S. citizens.
“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 also provided new details on how NSO Group infected victims’ devices with its Pegasus spyware. Taking on the Pegasus-creator, Apple said, “NSO Group creates sophisticated, state-sponsored surveillance technology that allows its highly targeted spyware to surveil its victims. These attacks are only aimed at a very small number of users, and they impact people across multiple platforms, including iOS and Android.”
“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.
Meanwhile Apple is also notifying the small number of users that it discovered may have been targeted by FORCEDENTRY exploit used by NSO Group to spy.