Apple sues NSO Group for iPhone hacking software for governments

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The Israeli firm sells law enforcement and government agencies software infecting smartphones.

Apple recently announced that it has filed a lawsuit against Israeli firm NSO Group, which sells law enforcement and government agencies iPhone hacking software.

The software lets its users read data on Apple smartphones, including communications such as texts.

Amnesty International announced earlier in 2021 that recent models of Apple smartphones owned by journalists and human rights lawyers had been infected with Pegasus, the NSO Group malware sold to governments.

Apple’s lawsuit is pursuing a permanent injunction banning NSO Group from using any of Apple’s services, software or devices. Moreover, it is seeking $75,000 in damages. Apple is also using this iPhone hacking software lawsuit as a caution to other spyware vendors.

“The steps Apple is taking today will send a clear message: in a free society, it is unacceptable to weaponize powerful state-sponsored spyware against innocent users and those who seek to make the world a better place,” said Apple head of security engineering and architecture Ivan Krstic in a recent tweet.

Apple intends to use this lawsuit as a clear message against anyone with iPhone hacking software plans.

Apple is using this legal action as a way to tell the world that in a free society, state-sponsored software should never be actively used against innocent users.

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NSO Group’s Pegasus software makes it possible for “attacks, including from sovereign governments that pay hundreds of millions of dollars to target and attack a tiny fraction of users with information of particular interest to NSO’s customers,” said Apple in its lawsuit. The suit was filed in a Northern District of California federal court, stating that it is not “ordinary consumer malware.”

Furthermore, Apple stated that it had recently patched the flaws that made it possible for the software sold by NSO Group to be capable of iPhone hacking. This malware previously made it possible to access private data on the smartphones using “zero-click” attacks where the malicious software was delivered using a text and leaving limited evidence that infection has occurred. A user of the Pegasus software can surveil remotely, accessing the smartphone activities on the infected device.

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