Apple sues NSO Group over spyware

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court case, filed in a federal court in California, alleged that NSO’s spyware, known as Pegasus, and other malware caused monetary and property damage to Apple, and violated the human rights of Apple users along the way. .
“To prevent further abuse and harm to its users, Apple is seeking a permanent injunction prohibiting the NSO Group from using any Apple software, services or devices,” Apple said in a statement,

In a statement Tuesday, NSO Group did not address the specifics of the lawsuit and instead said the firm’s technology saves lives.

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The firm said the NSO group provides “legitimate tools” to help governments fight pedophiles and terrorists.

While NSO Group has long maintained that it only sells its software to authorized users for law enforcement and counter-terrorism purposes, researchers have uncovered for years that Pegasus was used in surveys of dissidents and human rights activists. has been done for.

In September researchers at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab said an unidentified party was using Pegasus, and a vulnerability in Apple operating software, to spy on a Saudi worker.

The lawsuit is the latest blow to the NSO group, which has long been accused by cyber security analysts and human rights activists of doing business with repressive governments. According to the researchers, the firm’s easy-to-use spyware is capable of accessing phone communications and other sensitive data on the device.

The US Commerce Department this month added the NSO Group to its so-called “entity list”, effectively banning the company from purchasing software components from unlicensed US vendors. Commerce accused NSO Group and another Israeli firm, Candiru, of providing spyware to foreign governments that “used these tools to maliciously target” journalists, embassy workers and activists.

In a statement at the time, the NSO group said it was “disappointed by the decision that our technologies support US national security interests and policies by preventing terrorism and crime, and thus we would advocate reversing this decision.”

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“We look forward to presenting the full details of how we have one of the world’s most rigorous compliance and human rights programs that are based on [on] We deeply share the American values,” according to the statement, “which has already resulted in multiple terminations of contacts. [sic] With government agencies who misused our products.”

Candiru could not be reached for comment at the time.

Apple is at least the second major US tech firm to sue NSO Group. Facebook (now known as Meta) sued NSO Group in 2019 for facilitating the breach of 1,400 phones running the WhatsApp messaging application.

NSO Group has denied the allegations made by Facebook and tried to prevent the matter from moving forward. But this month a US appeals court ruled that the trial could go ahead.

Apple said it would contribute $10 million, as well as any damages caused to “cyber surveillance research and advocacy organizations” from the lawsuit.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified punitive damages from NSO Group, as well as “compensatory damages in the amount proved at trial.”

NSO Group is one of the many firms that sell specialized hacking tools to break into various types of mobile phones.

In their lawsuit, Apple’s attorneys considered what it called a “constant arms race” between Apple engineers and code-writers from the NSO Group.

“Even as Apple develops solutions and enhances the security of its devices, defendants are continually updating their malware and exploiting Apple’s own security upgrades to overcome it,” stated in the complaint.


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