Apple says it’s suing an Israeli hacking firm for a fee
Richmond, Virginia. Tech giant Apple announced Tuesday that it will sue Israel’s NSO Group, as it seeks to prevent the world’s most notorious hacker rental firm from breaking into Apple products, such as the iPhone.
Apple said in a complaint filed in federal court in California that NSO Group employees are “unethical mercenaries of the 21st century who have devised a highly sophisticated electronic surveillance mechanism that advocates routine and flagrant abuse.” To attack a small number of Apple customers around the world.
“State-sponsored actors like the NSO Group spend millions of dollars on sophisticated surveillance technologies without effective accountability. That has to change,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering.
The NSO Group has widely denied any wrongdoing and said that governments use its products to prevent terrorism and crime. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.
It is the latest blow to the hacking company, which was recently blacklisted by the US Department of Commerce and is currently being sued by the social media giant Facebook.
Security researchers have discovered that Pegasus has been used worldwide to break into the phones of human rights activists, journalists, and even members of the Catholic clergy.
Pegasus infiltrates phones to dump personal and location data and surreptitiously controls smartphone microphones and cameras. The researchers found several examples of NSO Group tools that use so-called “zero-click” exploits that infect target cellphones without any user interaction.
The Biden administration announced this month that NSO Group and another Israeli cybersecurity firm called Candiru have been added to its “Entity List,” limiting their access to US components and technology by seeking government permission to export.
Also this month, security researchers revealed the discovery of Pegasus spyware on the mobile phones of six Palestinian human rights activists. Mexican prosecutors recently announced that they had arrested a businessman on charges of using Pegasus spyware to spy on a journalist.
Facebook has sued the NSO Group over the use of a somewhat similar exploit that allegedly hacked the globally encrypted messaging app WhatsApp. A US federal appeals court ruled this month, dismissing NSO Group’s attempt to drop the lawsuit.
Apple also announced on Tuesday that it will donate $10 million, in addition to any damages it won in the NSO Group lawsuit, to cyber-monitoring researchers and advocates.
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