Apple is suing NSO Group, the Israeli maker of military-grade spyware that created surveillance software used to target the phones of journalists, dissidents, and journalists. human rights activism, to block it from using its products.
The iPhone maker’s lawsuit, filed in federal court in California on Tuesday, alleges that NSO, Israel’s largest known cyberwarfare company, has been tracking and targeting Apple users. It is seeking damages as well as an order to prevent NSO from using any Apple software, devices or services.
NSO develops and sells its spyware, called Pegasus, which exploits vulnerabilities in iPhones and Android smartphones and allows its deployers to infiltrate target devices without not detected.
Customers include government agencies, who purchase spyware as commercially available software. NSO has said that it only sells its weapons to countries to fight terrorism and serious crime, and with the approval of the Israeli government.
Pegasus is disclosure In July was used to target the smartphones of dozens of journalists, human rights activists and politicians, according to an investigation by a newspaper consortium.
“State-funded organizations like the NSO Group spend millions on complex surveillance technologies without effective accountability. That needs to change,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering. in a statement. “Apple devices are the most secure consumer hardware on the market – but private companies are developing state-sponsored spyware that is becoming even more dangerous.”
NSO Group could not be immediately reached for comment.
Apple’s complaint comes just weeks after a US Court of Appeals found that NSO and its parent company Q Cyber are not sovereign entities and therefore are not protected from a previous lawsuit. That’s because Facebook accused NSO of targeting users of its WhatsApp messaging service. .
The US government also announced this month that it has added Tel Aviv-based NSO Group and rival Candiru to a trade blacklist, which would limit US hardware and software exports to companies, as it undermines the industry. global rental hack.
In the complaint, Apple called NSO a “reputable” and “unscrupulous” group of hackers who act as “mercenaries” that create network surveillance machines that “indulge in routine and abusive behavior.” blatant” for commercial gain.
Apple alleges NSO violated a variety of federal and state laws “as a result of their egregious, intentional, and concerted efforts in 2021 to target and attack Apple customers.”
Apple has released a urgent software update in September after a vulnerability from Pegasus was exposed by researchers at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Laboratory.