Apple has announced that it has filed a lawsuit against NSO Group, the now-infamous developer of the Pegasus spyware. The company states that it intends to hold the Israel-based tech firm accountable for creating the tool and the “FORCEDENTRY” Apple ID exploit, which enables authorities to spy on Apple device users – especially activists and journalists. In addition, it also seeks to ban NSO completely from using any of its products, software and services for any purposes.
“State-sponsored actors like the NSO Group spend millions of dollars on sophisticated surveillance technologies without effective accountability. That needs to change,” said company senior VP of software engineering Craig Federighi. “Apple devices are the most secure consumer hardware on the market — but private companies developing state-sponsored spyware have become even more dangerous.”
Apple’s lawsuit also detailed further regarding NSO Group’s alleged FORCEDENTRY exploit which has been used to target its platforms and devices, based on findings by security researchers Citizen Lab. The company revealed that intruders created fake Apple IDs and took advantage of the security loophole to send malicious codes to victims and install the Pegasus spyware on their devices without alerting them. Thanks to Citizen Lab’s report, Apple has since patched the exploit back in September.
In the same announcement, the company says it will also donate US$10 million as well as any proceeds from the lawsuit towards “organisations pursuing cybersurveillance research and advocacy. Additionally, Apple also noted that it will continue supporting Citizen Lab with pro-bono technical, threat intelligence, and engineering assistance to aid their independent security research mission.
The iPhone maker isn’t the only one against NSO and its spyware development. Other major tech companies that are also condemning the firm include Microsoft, Meta, and Google. Meanwhile, the US government had recently added the Israel-based developer to its entity list earlier this month, placing it alongside other blacklisted companies including Huawei.
(Source: Apple [Official website])