Advertisement
Thursday, Jan 27, 2022
Outlook.com
Outlook.com

Amoral 21st Century Mercenary: Apple Sues Pegasus Maker NSO Group

Apple said in a complaint filed in federal court in California that NSO Group's spyware, called Pegasus, had been used to attack a small number of Apple customers worldwide.

Amoral 21st Century Mercenary: Apple Sues Pegasus Maker NSO Group
Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering. | YouTube Screenshot from Apple Broadcast
Amoral 21st Century Mercenary: Apple Sues Pegasus Maker NSO Group
outlookindia.com
2021-11-24T08:20:34+05:30

Tech giant Apple announced on Tuesday it is suing Israel's NSO Group, seeking to block the world's most infamous hacker-for-hire company from breaking into Apple's products, like the iPhone.

Apple said in a complaint filed in federal court in California that NSO Group employees are “amoral 21st century mercenaries who have created highly sophisticated cyber-surveillance machinery that invites routine and flagrant abuse." Apple said NSO Group's spyware, called Pegasus, had been used to attack a small number of Apple customers worldwide.

“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.

NSO Group has broadly denied wrongdoing and said its products have been used by governments to prevent terrorism and crime. The company did not immediately return a request for comment on Tuesday.

It's the latest blow to the hacking firm, which was recently blacklisted by the US Commerce Department and is currently being sued by social media giant Facebook.

Security researchers have found Pegasus being used around the world to break into the phones of human rights activists, journalists and even members of the Catholic clergy.

Pegasus infiltrates phones to vacuum up personal and location data and surreptitiously controls the smartphone's microphones and cameras. Researchers have found several examples of NSO Group tools using so-called “zero click” exploits that infect targeted mobile phones without any user interaction.

The Biden administration announced this month that NSO Group and another Israeli cybersecurity firm called Candiru were being added to the “entity list,” which limits their access to US components and technology by requiring government permission for exports.

Also this month, security researchers disclosed that Pegasus spyware was detected on the cellphones of six Palestinian human rights activists.

And Mexican prosecutors recently announced they have arrested a businessman on charges he used the Pegasus spyware to spy on a journalist.

Facebook has sued NSO Group over the use of a somewhat similar exploit that allegedly intruded via its globally popular encrypted WhatsApp messaging app.

A US federal appeals court issued a ruling this month rejecting an effort by NSO Group to have the lawsuit thrown out.

Apple also announced Tuesday that it was donating USD 10 million, as well as any damages won in the NSO Group lawsuit, to cyber surveillance researchers and advocates.

Advertisement

Outlook Newsletters

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Read More from Outlook

Lament Of Separation: Songs Of Habba Khatun, Last Queen Of Kashmir, Still Echo In Valley

Lament Of Separation: Songs Of Habba Khatun, Last Queen Of Kashmir, Still Echo In Valley

In happy times and sad, Habba Khatun’s sensuous songs make both young and old emotional. With the never-ending conflict bringing tragedies to every doorstep, Habba’s lyrics of separation amplify their mourning.

How Indian Laws Govern People’s Right To Love And Live

How Indian Laws Govern People’s Right To Love And Live

In India, only those relationships between a man and a woman are considered to be legitimate when there is a marriage between the two.

Kohli Quits Test Captaincy, Leaves Leadership Vacuum

Kohli Quits Test Captaincy, Leaves Leadership Vacuum

Virat Kohli, 33, had recently stepped down as India's T20I captain and was subsequently removed as the ODI captain.

UP Elections 2022: How Congress Is Harnessing Power Of 'Persecuted' Women To Counter BJP

UP Elections 2022: How Congress Is Harnessing Power Of 'Persecuted' Women To Counter BJP

A Mahila Congress leader, who is the face of the ‘Ladki Hoon, Lad Sakti Hoon’ campaign, however, has accused the party of anti-women bias after she was denied a ticket.

Advertisement