Apple sues controversial cyber firm to stop it using iPhones and other devices

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Apple has filed a lawsuit against controversial cyber firm NSO Group and its parent company.

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The lawsuit, which Apple said was launched to protect its customers, would prohibit the Israeli company from using any Apple software, services or devices to prevent further abuse.

Apple is the latest in a string of companies and governments to come after NSO, the maker of the Pegasus hacking tool, which watchdog groups say targeted human rights activists and journalists. Earlier this month, US officials placed the company on a trade blacklist. NSO has also faced legal action or criticism from Microsoft Corp, Meta Platforms Inc, Alphabet Inc and Cisco Systems Inc.


NSO is reportedly involved in bypassing the security of the products made by these companies and selling that fraud as a hacking tool to foreign governments.

In a statement, NSO, which says it only sells its equipment to governments and law enforcement agencies and has put in place security measures to prevent misuse, said “thousands of lives” were saved through the use of its equipment. Is.

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Pedophiles and terrorists can operate freely in technological safe havens, and we provide governments with legitimate tools to fight it. The NSO group will continue to advocate for truth,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

In its complaint filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, Apple said that NSO’s tools were used in “concerted efforts to target and attack Apple customers in 2021″ and that ” US citizens have been surveyed by NSO’s spyware. Mobile devices that can and do cross international borders.”

Apple alleged that the NSO group created more than 100 fake Apple ID user credentials to carry out its attacks. Apple said its servers were not hacked, but NSO abused and manipulated the servers to attack Apple users.

Apple also alleged that the NSO Group was directly involved in providing consulting services for the attacks, which is notable because NSO has ensured that it sells its equipment to customers.

Defendants force Apple to engage in an ongoing arms race: even as Apple develops solutions and enhances the security of its devices, Defendants are continually updating their malware and are exploiting to remove Apple’s own security upgrades,” Apple said.

Apple said it has so far seen no evidence of NSO’s tools being used against Apple devices using iOS 15, the latest version of its mobile operating system.

The iPhone maker said it would donate $10 million, as well as any damages recovered in the lawsuit, to cyber surveillance research groups including Citizen Lab, the University of Toronto group that first discovered the NSO attacks .

Additional reporting by Reuters


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